Day Peckinpaugh

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DAY PECKINPAUGH, (canal motorship)
The Day Peckinpaugh docked at Albany on its maiden voyage in 1921
Day Peckinpaugh is located in New York
Day Peckinpaugh
Location Matton Shipyard,
Van Schaick Island,
Cohoes, New York
Coordinates 42°46′43″N 73°40′48″W / 42.77861°N 73.68000°W / 42.77861; -73.68000Coordinates: 42°46′43″N 73°40′48″W / 42.77861°N 73.68000°W / 42.77861; -73.68000
Built 1921
Architect McDougal-Duluth, MN, builder; Todd Shipyard, Brooklyn, NY, rebuild
Architectural style canal motorship
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 05001486[1]
Added to NRHP December 28, 2005

Day Peckinpaugh is a historic canal motorship berthed at the Matton Shipyard on Peebles Island,[2] Cohoes in Albany County, New York.[3]

Early years[edit]

The Day Peckinpaugh was built in 1921 by the McDougall-Duluth Shipyard in Duluth, MN, the first boat specially designed and built for New York State Barge Canal, the successor to the famed Erie Canal. The ship was originally named the ILI101 after the ship's first owner, the Interwaterways Lines Inc of New York City.[4] The ship was the first specifically designed to ply the open waters of the Great Lakes as well as the narrow locks and shallow waterways of the barge canal. The Day Peckinpaugh is also the last surviving ship from a fleet of more than 100 of its type that once carried freight from the upper Midwest to the port of New York City.[5]

At a length of 259 feet (79 m) and width of 36 feet (11 m), it is among the largest boats to operate on New York’s canal system where the maximum area available for vessels in a lock is 300 feet (91 m) long by 43.5 feet (13.3 m) wide.[6] With a 14-foot (4.3 m) deep hold and a carrying capacity of 1,650 tonnes (1,620 long tons; 1,820 short tons), the Day Peckinpaugh was well suited as a bulk carrier in which she hauled wheat, flax seed, rye, sugar, and in the early years pig iron.[7]

First renaming[edit]

The ILI101 was rechristened the Richard J. Barnes in 1922 to honor the man who originally commissioned the ship.[5]

World War II service[edit]

During World War II, the Richard J. Barnes was drafted into the US Merchant Marine to carry coal and refuel cargo ships along the east coast of the United States.[5] During her Merchant Marine service the Richard J. Barnes was attacked by a German U-Boat which fired a torpedo at her; the torpedo was thought to have passed under the ship due to its shallow seven foot draft.[7]

Second renaming[edit]

In 1958, the ship was sold to Erie Navigation[7] and retrofitted to carry sand and gravel. The ship was again renamed, becoming the Day Peckinpaugh, in honor of the man of the same name, brother of the New York Yankees player and manager, Roger Peckinpaugh.[4]

Later service[edit]

The ship was converted to a self-unloading dry cement hauler in 1961[7] and used to carry cement from Oswego to Rome, New York until to its retirement in 1994,[8] the Day Peckinpaugh was the last self-propelled regularly scheduled commercial hauler on the barge canal.[6]


In 2005 the Day Peckinpaugh was saved from the scrap yard by a partnership of museums, and canal preservation societies[7] and is undergoing extensive cleaning, painting, restoration and testing of its engines.[4] More than $3 million[2] has been pledged to restore and convert the ‘‘Day Peckinpaugh’’ into a floating classroom and museum that will highlight the history and heritage of the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes. The restoration is scheduled for completion in 2012.[4] The ‘‘Day Peckinpaugh’’ is the largest artifact in the New York State Museum collection.[6]

In late 2011 the New York State Department of Education received a $191,000 grant to outfit the Day Peckinpaugh to serve as a multi-regional educational facility.[9]

Attempted sinking[edit]

On March 8, 2010 Guy J. Pucci, a 35 year-old ex-state employee was arrested after almost completely sinking the ship while it was docked at Lock 2 of the Barge Canal undergoing restoration. Pucci purportedly went aboard the vessel and opened valves to flood the ship in an attempt to scuttle it.[2] State Police said the ‘'Day Peckinpaugh’' was close to being submerged as police and ship employees worked to pump the water from the ship’s engine rooms.[10] The ship sustained extensive damage due to the flooding, and repairs were estimated to be in excess of $10,000.[10]

Pucci had worked aboard the Day Peckinpaugh since July 2009, but his position as a maintenance assistant had been terminated February 25, 2010.[2] On September 15, 2010 Guy J. Pucci was sentenced to time served and five years probation, including drug treatment court, after pleading guilty to a felony third degree criminal mischief charge.[11]

Current status[edit]

The ship was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.[8] At the time of its listing, it was located at Lockport in Niagara County, New York,[8] but its home base between trips and for maintenance is in Cohoes.[12]

The Day Peckinpaugh and the 1901 tugboat Urger, as still-functioning vessels, have become movable ambassadors of the New York State Barge Canal System.



  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Former mate accused of trying to sink ship". Troy Record. March 10, 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  3. ^ "Grants Announced to Preserve Historic Shipyard and Canal Boat". New York State Education Department Office of Cultural Education (New York State Museum). May 18, 2007. Retrieved 2010-16-14. 
  4. ^ a b c d "ERIE CANAL DISCOVERY: The ‘‘Day Peckinpaugh’’ freighter". Lockport Union Sun. June 6, 2008. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  5. ^ a b c "Things to Do: About the Day Peckinpaugh". National Park Service/Erie Canal way Partnership. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  6. ^ a b c "Day Peckinpaugh". Waterford Maritime Historical Society. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Ongoing Exhibitions :: The Day Peckinpaugh". New York State Museum website. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  8. ^ a b c Mark Peckham (August 2005). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Day Peckinpaugh". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2009-06-14.  See also: "Accompanying seven photos". 
  9. ^ "Canalway Communities to Share $1.5M in State Grants". New York State Canal Corporation. December 13, 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  10. ^ a b "Ex-state worker tried to sink historic ship". Times Union. March 8, 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-15. 
  11. ^ "Police & Courts: Sept 16, 2010". Saratogian. September 16, 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-15. 
  12. ^ "2009 Legacy Voyage of the "Day Peckinpaugh"". Erie Canalway. Retrieved 2014-09-01. 

Other websites[edit]

Media related to Day Peckinpaugh at Wikimedia Commons