A Bit More on Trenton’s Hog Island Cranes

Several gantry cranes in operation at the Hog Island Shipyard in Philadelphia, 1919. Source: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History. catalog no. 335550.2,
accession no. 1977.0003

Here’s a few more details on the cranes at the Marine Terminal Park. According to the National Register of Historic Places nomination form, the cranes were originally 15 ton oil burning, steam powered locomotive gantry cranes built by McMyler Interstate Company of Cleveland, Ohio in 1917. Twenty-eight of them were purchased by the new Hog Island shipyard in 1917. There is an excellent summary of Hog Island by John Lawrence on the also-excellent Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Detail of gantry crane from the above photo. Source: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History. catalog no. 335550.2,
accession no. 1977.0003

The steam gantry cranes have a 15 ton capacity at 15 ft. radius, mounted on tracks, with holding and closing lines and clam shell buckets of 3/4 and 1 1/2 yard capacity. Provision is made for magnets at 35 ft. radius with portable electric power. In 1952 they were overhauled and the boilers replaced. They stand on four legs, and are approximately 40 ft. tall.

TAMS 1952

The cranes in operation at the Trenton Marine Terminal. Source: Trentoniana Collection, Trenton Public Library/Mercer County History at Rootsweb.com

When the Hog Island Shipyard was being dismantled in 1930, Trenton purchased two cranes for the bargain price of $5,000 and they went into operation at the city’s new Marine Terminal in 1932. The cranes were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, after the Trenton Marine Terminal had ceased operations and the City was in the process of turning the cranes and the land they sat on into a park. The actual cranes were likely still on top of the gantries at that time, but were removed sometime after that, perhaps for safety reasons.

Source: Trentoniana Collection, Trenton Public Library/Mercer County History at Rootsweb.com
One of the gantry cranes in 2020. Source: TCM

References:

Kardas, S., and E. Larrabee, 1980. Hog Island Cranes. National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form.

Tippetts, Abbett, McCarthy Stratton (TAMS), 1952. Report on the Port of Trenton, Made for the City of Trenton and County of Mercer, New Jersey.

The Hog Island Gantry Cranes

Gantry crane
Source: TCM

The first thing to realize is that the Hog Island cranes are no longer on Hog Island. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, a massive shipyard was set up alongside the Delaware River on Hog Island in Philadelphia to build transport and cargo ships, although none of the ships were completed before the war ended in 1918.

Gantry crane detail
Source: TCM

In 1930, Philadelphia bought Hog Island and transformed it into what is now the Philadelphia International Airport. Two of the cranes were sold and moved upriver to Trenton. At the Trenton Marine Terminal, they were used to load and unload ships for several decades before being taken out of service. Only the two gantries remain; the cranes that sat on top of them are gone. The Hog Island cranes were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

For more on Hog Island, see The Necessity for Ruins.

Hokey Smokes, it’s the Honda Hunter Cub!

Honda CT125 Hunter Cub in Matte Fresco Brown. Source: Honda Japan and rideapart.com

After re-introducing the Super Cub to the U.S., Honda is now releasing the CT125 Hunter Cub, a more off-road ready bike that’s an evolution of their 1960s-1970s era Honda Trail bikes. The Hunter Cub will be released in Japan in June and may (or may not) also come to the U.S.

Honda CT125 Hunter Cub in Glowing Red. Source: Honda Japan and rideapart.com

Academic Publishers Make Some Teaching Resources Available to Cope with COVID-19

The Penn Libraries have assembled a list of academic publishers who are making educational resources more readily available for researchers and teachers who are dealing with teaching or working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Access varies by publisher but includes textbooks and some articles. Annual Reviews, for example, is making all their articles freely available, while other publishers are expanding access to their current subscribers.

Thanks to ZOOARCH-L for publicizing this!

Passenger Pigeons on New Hampshire Public Radio

How many is a lot? When you’re talking passenger pigeons, that question is more controversial than you might think.

I was fortunate to be able to participate in a discussion of passenger pigeon population numbers for the Outside/In podcast, which is a production of New Hampshire Public Radio. Author Charles Mann was also interviewed because his book, 1491, repeated an earlier claim that passenger pigeon remains are rarely found on archaeological sites and questioned whether passenger pigeons were truly abundant before the 1800s.

Listen to the episode, Tempest in a Teacup, at the Outside/In website, or wherever you normally get your podcasts.

“Doctorates are so weird”

Around Port Mercer by E-Bike

Port Mercer was a small town along the Delaware and Raritan Canal in central New Jersey. Since the canal closed down in 1932, commerce has shifted east to U.S. Route 1, where shopping malls, car dealers, and restaurants are now located. On the west side of the canal, there are still extensive swampy wetlands between Lawrence Township and Princeton.

Source: TCM

One of the buildings that remains from the canal’s heyday is the Bridge Tender’s House – the worker who lived there was responsible for swinging open the bridge when a canal boat came through. Several similar buildings still exist along the canal.

Bridge Tender’s house at Port Mercer, NJ. Source: TCM

Glencairn’s Cozy Living Room

The living room at Glencairn. The stained glass includes an 800 year old panel from Europe and twentieth-century panels built on site using the same techniques. Source: TCM

Glencairn was built by Raymond Pitcairn, “self-taught cathedral architect” (as his New York Times obituary described him) and heir to the massive empire created by his father, John, the founder of PPG industries.

After completing construction of the Bryn Athyn Cathedral of the The New Church, Pitcairn turned to building himself a new house. Located north of Philadelphia (the Philly skyline can be seen from the top of the mansion’s seven-story tower), it was designed by Pitcairn and constructed between 1928 and 1939, while Pitcairn was simultaneously fighting against Roosevelt’s New Deal. Glencairn is built in the Romanesque style out of hand-cut stone and concrete. It contains 90 rooms, including 17 bedrooms, a chapel, and the expansive living room, decorated with both actual Medieval-era items and modern recreations built by artisans in the same style.

Source: TCM
The inglenook. Source: TCM
Ceiling inspired by the Irish Book of Kells. Source: TCM
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