Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

No. 14.

LEGISLATURE, 1859.

REPORT of the Superintendent of the St. Mary's

Falls Ship Canal.
ST. MARY'S FALLS SHIP CANAL OFFICE,

. , , ; }

Saut Ste. Marie, December 27, 1858. To his Excellency the Governor of the State of Michigan :

SIR: I have the honor of transmitting to your Excellency this, my second Annual Roport of the condition and business of the St. Mary's Falls Ship Canal, for the past year, in accordance with the Session Laws of 1857.

I am gratified in being able to report that, so far as the condition and preservation of the work is concerned, it is all that the most sanguine could expect, having stood the test of the three past winters as well, and even better, than could have been expected of a work of the kind in this latitude-the whole being in good condition-no accident of any kind having occurred during the past year to cause the delay or hinder the speedy passage of vessels of all kinds; the utmost ,care and caution having been observed, not only by those employed about the work, but also by all the masters of vessels passing in and out of the same, each manifesting a desire to comply with all the

Doc.

2

rules and regulations pertaining thereto. That portion of the time not occupied in the passage of vessels through the locks, has been spent in making such repairs as might be necessary from time to time ; also, in strengthening the embankment. During the two past years a large amount of earth has been added to that portion of the embankment directly above the locks, and near where the break occurred in August, 1857; so much so, that I think it may be considered comparatively safe, yet, by no means beyond danger, the material of which it is composed being of a very inferior character, mostly sand-it being the only kind that could be obtained near by.

The walls of the locks, together with the gates connected therewith, are in a good state of preservation, neither having received any damage by collision with the boats or otherwise. The gates and other wood-work about the locks, were all newly painted in the spring of 1857, and the buildings, together with the towers of the gates, have all been re-painted during the past season, and the gates will be done between now and the opening of navigation, as the weather will permitit being considered necessary in order to their future preservation—the labor all being done by those regularly employed about the Canal.

The Canal was opened and boats passed on the 18th of April, being the earliest opening of navigation for many years, and, I think, quite early enough for the good and safety of the Canal, as the frost can hardly have time to disappear from the banks, and they become permanently settled, at so early a date, even under the most favorable circumstances; yet, the caison gate was kept open, and boats of all kinds continued to pass without interruption, until the 22d of November--at which time the gates were closed, and navigation considered suspened for the season.

You will discover, by reference to the receipts, (a statement of which is annexed) that the number of boats passing through, and the amount of business done, has been

gradually increasing since the first opening or completion of the Canal, and yet, not as large for the past season as it would have been, but for the stringency in the money market.

In addition to the shipping passing through the canal owned and employed by our own citizens, a few enterprising ones from the neighboring province of Canada have, within the last year, purchased and fitted up a substantial and staunch propeller, which has been making her regular trips during the most part of the season, from Collingwood, on Lake Huron, to Fort William, and the Grand Portage, on Lake Superior, carrying the mails for the Red River Settlement, thus making a commencement, or laying the foundation, for an extensive trade with that country, and the north shore of Lake Superior, all of which must pass through the St. Mary's Falls Ship Canal until railroads can be built, or some other channel opened up which shall divert it, or supercede the necessity of passing this way.

The whole amount received at the office during the past year, to Nov. 30th, is $10,848 80; expenses from Nov. 30th, 1857, to date, is $4,671 88; leaving a balance of $6,176 92; which together with the sum of $3,980 91, the amount on hand Nov. 30th, 1857, makes $10,157 83, surplus on the 30th of November last. Of the above sum there has been deposited with the State Treasurer $8,947 42, leaving a balance in the office at that date of $1,210 41, which will be enough to defray all ordinary expenses until the opening of navigation, and leave a small balance on hand at that time.

Annexed is a statement of the amount of freight which has passed the Canal during the past season, as reported. Although that portion of the session laws of 1857, requiring the masters of vessels to deliver to the Superintendent a statement, or transcript, of their bills of lading, is complied with, yet as there is nothing compelling the making such returns true and correct, but merely to subscribe

their names thereto, I have no doubt many of them are very incorrect, and especially in cases where the cargo is composed of a great variety or kinds, thus requiring some time and labor to make perfect copies; yet that portion referring to copper and iron may be relied upon as being very nearly correct, as may be seen by reference to the shipments from the different ports, an account of which may be taken from the newspapers and other sources.

My predecessor, in his report to the Board of Control, of Nov. 30th, 1856, recommends certain improvements or safe guards, which he considered necessary for the safety of the Canal as well as vessels navigating the same, in the most of which I fully concur, yet, after a careful observation and practical experience of two seasons, am compel. led to differ from him somewhat, in reference to the best manner of strengthening the artificial or made embank ment referred to, extending from the upper lock to the basin. Instead of putting a wall on the outside, I would recommend the putting it on the inside, building it nearly perpendicular, (instead of a slope, as at present,) and laying it in water-lime up to or near the water-line, then raising it with timber even with the top of the embankment, which would form the timber or fender work recommended, while the wall would be better protected from the effects of frost, as the water is left in the Canal during the winter. This wall may be built between the closing of navigation in the fall and its opening in the spring, thus interfering in no way with navigation or the use of the Canal.

But the one which I consider of more importance than any and all the rest combined, is the construction of a good set of guard gates, similar in form to those used at the locks. These are not only necessary to the safety and preservation of the Canal, but as a matter of convenience while making such repairs as may be necessary from time to time, the Caisson gate, the only

« AnteriorContinuar »