United States. Inland Waterways Commission.

Preliminary report of the Inland Waterways Commission. Message from the President transmitting a preliminary report online

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Online LibraryUnited States. Inland Waterways CommissionPreliminary report of the Inland Waterways Commission. Message from the President transmitting a preliminary report → online text (page 33 of 83)
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Number of fisliing sauicks otlicr tluia oyster boats 55


Lumber feet. . 10, 680, 000

Bricks 1, 060, 000

Charcoal bushels.. 67, 100

Sand barrels. . 446, 380

Shells do 150, 630

Wood cords. . 6, 650

Staves, cypress 451, 000

Shingles 223, 100

Clay barrels. . 2, 500

Gravel do 22, 000

Oysters do 56, 895

Piling pieces. . 3, 335

Laths 1, 500, 000

The transportation of sand, lumber, bricks, and shells used in the
operations of contractors and builders is the most profitable feature of
the canal's business.

Regarding freight rates, the company's statement in the schedule
submitted says:

We have nothing to do with freight. We simply charge vessels for the use of our
waters. * * * It is impossible at short notice to give the names of owners or
ascertain their freight rates, as they are mostly small sailing craft and keep no record of
their cargoes.

The schedule also denies the connection with railroads of any of the
transportation agencies operating on the canal, and further on says
that railroads have nothing to do with the freight on the canal.

The average tonnage or the boats is from 80 to 90 tons, mostly
small schooners or luggers.

Maintenance. — The earnings and expenses of the company were
not reported on the schedule submitted. The maintenance of the
canal is believed to amount to about SI 0,000 a year, and the cost of
operation and improvements to cost about $8,000 more, making an an-
nual total of about $18,000. There are no receipts other than fi-om
tolls. The company grants no water rights. In reply to the query
as to what recent improvements have been made on the canal, the com-
pany replied :

Simply the building of a new tug valued at $8,000 and general maintenance of the
depth of channel, which is now over twice as much as is required by our charter pro-

The property is exempt from taxation.

History. — The Old Basin Canal belongs to historic New Orleans.
The canal was built by Baron Carondelet in the early part of last
century, a few years after the United States had purchased from
France that vast territory comprising \Wiat was then known as
Louisiana. The canal was owned by the heirs of the baron for many
years, but in 1857, the Carondelet Canal and Navigation Company
was incorporated, the canal becoming the property of this company.
The companv's charter was to expire in fifty years and the canal prop-
erty to revert to the State. There has been a great deal of discussion


between the corporation and the State as to the date of the expiration
of the charter, the State officials maintaining that it would expire in
1907 and the corporation that the charter expires in 1908. This, how-
ever, is mere detail, as the canal will revert to the State and become
State property, and is likely to be operated as the New Basin Canal
is now operated.

General. — The Old Basin Canal is paralleled by the New Basin
Canal, whose rules and regulations are practically the same. Neither
of these canals is an important factor in transportation at present.
Only light-draft vessels can navigate their waters, and as they do not
connect with the Mississippi River their transportation is limited to
products that are brought from the shores of Lake Pontchartrain and
the surrounding country to the city of New Orleans, it all being simply
local trade.


Description. — TheBarataria and Lafourche Canal, generally known
as Company Canal, is owned by an individual, Mr. R. R. Barrow, of
Westwego, La. The canal proper extends from the Mississippi River
at Westwego, La., just above and opposite New Orleans, for about 7
miles to Bayou Barataria. Passing through the canal and various
bayous and lakes, small boats can reach Houma, La., a distance of
about 57 miles, including about 22 miles of artificial w^aterways.
The system of water communication passes through the parishes of
Jefferson, Lafourche, and Terrebonne and includes the bayous Bara-
taria, De Allemands, Lafourche, and Terrebonne. It is open to
navigation for the entire year.

At present craft can go as far as Houma, La. Preparations are be-
ing made to cut a connecting link between Bayou Terrebonne and
Bayou Black at the town of Houma. This when completed will fur-
nish a through route to Morgan City.

The width of the canal proper is 45 feet, with a depth of 6 feet.
The canal was constructed about 1830. There is one lock, connecting
with the Mississippi River. This lock can accommodate vessels of
160 feet length, 25 feet beam, drawing 6 feet of water.

Control. — As already stated, the canal is ow^ned by R. R. Barrow
of Westwego, Jefferson Parish, La. Mr. Barrow states that the canal
is not leased to any railroad company, nor do the railroads prorate.

Towing. — Craft on the canal are propelled by gas, steam, and
sail. No job towing company appears to operate exclusively on the
canal. Mr. Barrow says, "We operate no boats;" and in reply to the
query whether any of the transportation agencies operating on the
canal are connected with railroads, he replied, "We know of none.
We charge for use of canal and have nothing to do with the operation
of the boats using canal."

Equipment and traffic. — The rate of toll is 50 cents per gross ton,
but special rates are made to boats that make regular trips. No toll
sheets are published. -

Regarding freight charges, the statement is made, "All rates on
freight carriers are governed by the railroad commission of this State"

No record is kept of the annual tonnage movement through the
canal. The canal freight consists mainly of lumber, sugar, moss,
molasses, produce, fish, oysters, and game. In 1904, the chief State


engineer of Louisiana estimated the annual tonnage at about 75,000
tons. Very little traffic is carried on through this canal, except small
luggers carrying fish and vegetables for the New Orleans market.
It passes through a low, marshy country.

Receipts from tolls are about $1,500 per month in the busy season.

Mainteifiance. — The canal has no debts. The approximate amount
expended for maintenance is about $8,000 annually. A new lock was
built in 1903 and constant dredging is necessary to keep the canal
open. The present owner has received no aid from the State nor
from the United States Government.


Description. — Harvey Canal extends from Harve}^, La., on the
Mississippi River just below New Orleans to Bayou Barataria, a
distance of 5.35 miles. It has had no connection with the river,
the necessary connecting lock not being built, and it therefore has
been of small commercial importance. The canal is about 70 feet
wide and about 6 feet deep. The construction of a lock connecting
with the Mississippi River has been undertaken. Tliis is to be 184
feet long, 30 feet wide, wdth 7 feet of water over the miter sill at low
water. Dredging the canal to a width of 80 feet and a depth of 8
feet is contemplated.

Control. — The canal is owned by the Harvey Canal and Land
Improvement Company, Horace H. Harvey, secretary, Harve}*, La.
Robert L. Harvey is the principal stockholder. »

Equipment arid traffic. — Small oyster boats and skiffs carrying
vegetables, fish, etc., and a few pleasure launches are the only craft
that use tliis canal.

When the lock connecting the Mississippi is completed, and the
canaJ is dredged deeper, it would probably carry some freight and be
a factor in reducing railroad rates. There are no towns of import-
ance in the bottoms traversed by this canal. The receipts from
tolls are about $15 or $16 per week. The canal was built in 1858-


Description. — This is a private canal })uilt about 1884 in St. Ber-
nard Parish, La., about 7 miles in length, connecting Lake Borgne
with the Mississippi River 10 miles below New Orleans. It was
abandoned until new locks were built and the canal reopened in
1901. About 3 miles of the canal is a natural bayou. It is one of the
largest artificial waterways in Louisiana. There are no feeders or
branch lines. The canal was originally built to bring coal, lumber, brick
and buikling material from Alabama and Gulf ports to New Orleans.
It shortens the distance by water between Mobile and New Orleans
by about 60 miles. The time required to go through the canal with
an ordinary craft is about two or three hours.

The depth of the canal is 7 feet below mean Gulf level, and its
minimum width is 80 feet. A lock connects the canal with the
Mississippi River. This lock is 200 feet long, 40 feet wide, and 7
feet deep.

Control. — The Lake Borgne Canal Company, wliich owns the canal,
has no relation with other carriers tlu-ougli the ownership of stock


or other securities. Not long after the organization of the Lake
Borgne Canal Company it leased the canal with all its property,
privileges, and franchises to one William J. Kelly, with an option of
purchase to the lessee, by lease to begin October 1, 1903, and to
continue for a term of twenty-five years. Kelly assigned liis interest
to the Southern Transportation Company, which was by consent of
the Canal Company subrogated to all the rights of Kelly under the
lease. The lease recited that it was made dependent upon the exer-
cise of an option of lease held by the AlabamaBarge and Coal Company
to lease the canal and its property, said option running until January
1, 1904. At a meeting held March 1, 1904, the directors of the Canal
Company adopted a set of resolutions, which after reciting that since
it was shown that considerable time must elapse before the canal
could be properly operated under the lease, since the development of
traffic was adverse on account of dullness in the export timber trade,
and since it appeared to be to the interests of the Canal Company to
take such action, the payment of rental provided for the first three
years under the lease was suspended and was made subject to certain
modified terms and conditions.

Some time prior to March 15, 1906, the Southern Transportation
Company, which proved to be simply a couple of promoters, went
into the hands of a receiver. Mr. Kelly, the original lessee of the
company, was made receiver and proceeded to administer the affairs
of the company. A special agent of the Bureau of Corporations who
visited New Orleans m May, 1906, reported that the affairs of the
Southern Transportation Company appeared to be in very bad shape,
little or no business being done on the canal. The receiver had charge
of all the books, and the secretary of the Southern Transportation
Company was unable to furnish any information regarding the affairs
of the company. At the time of the visit of the agent of the Bureau,
the Canal Company expected to take charge of the canal in October,
1906. No dividends have ever been declared by the Lake Borgne
Canal Company.

Towing and toll charges. — The towing and toll charges on the Lake
Borgne Canal are shown in the rate circular as follows:


Enrolled vessels, propelled by their own steam, 30 cents per gi-oss registered ton for
passage through canal and lockage.

Enrolled schooners, same as enrolled steam vessels, as above.

The tonnage of all noncargo-carrying craft, such as dredges, etc., will be charged on
outside measurement of hull, at the rate of 30 cents per ton of 100 cubic feet.

Barges, when empty or carrying material not classed on this rate sheet, will be
charged 30 cents per ton of 100 cubic feet, based on outside measurement of hull.

Luggers, pleasure yachts, and launches, under 30 feet, passage through canal and
locks, under their own power, one way, $3. Above 30 feet in length, 10 cents per run-
ning foot.

Skiffs, rowboats, and canoes passed through canal and locks during regular lockings,
50 cents each. Special locking, $3.


Crafts laden with lumber or timber, 65 cents per M superficial feet, with right to
return empty free of charge, immediately after discharging cargo. Schooners, etc.,
having on board less lumber at 65 cents per M feet than amount of tolls, if charged
according to their tonnage or length, as the case may be, will be charged according
to their length or tonnage.


Piles in cribs or on barge, three-fourths of a cent per ninning foot.

Timber in cribs, 65 cents per M superficial feet.

Craft not to be loaded to exceed a maximum draft of 6 feet (and should be at least
6 inches liy the stern) nor to a width over all of more than 36 feet, and during the low-
water season the draft is not to exceed 5J feet. Any delay or expense occasioned
through noncompliance with these instructions will be at the risk and expense of

No outside tugboats will be permitted to pass through canal locks with barges or other
craft in tow without paying full tolls, uiiless special an-angements are made to the

Barges when passing through the canal loaded should have on board a manifest as to
details of cargo, and in cases of lumber or timber, the amount of superficial feet on
board .

In cases of necessity towage of barges for delivery to steamers and points in river
will be arranged for by iis on request and the actual towage rates paid by us will be
charged for such service, we holding ourselves harmless and free from responsibility
in case of delay or other circumstances over which we have no control.

All measuring of craft to be done by this company's superintendent at the canal,
and no alterations will be permitted; no other measurements will be accepted.

Equipment and traffic. — As to transportation on the canal, no definite
information is available. The company does not own any boats, but
the barges navigating the canal average about 400 tons. As the State
exercises no supervision over this canal there are no reports of supervis-
ing bodies. There are no returns for taxation nor any records with
the attorney-general of the State. This canal should be an important
factor in transportation, but it has been unfortunate in its manage-
ment. On the completion of the improvements now being made in the
Warrior and Black Warrior rivers in Alabama, an inside all-water route
via the canal will be available from the coal fields of Alabama to New
Orleans, and under proper management the coal traffic through the
canal should assume considerable proportions.

A large coaling plant was erected by a corporation known as the
Mississippi River Coaling Company at the mouth X3f the canal where
it enters the Mississippi River, about 10 miles below New Orleans.
The object of erecting this plant was to supply vessels with coal. It
is located just outside the harbor limits or New Orleans, so that a
foreign vessel cannot stop there to receive coal, or take on a cargo of
any kind without special permission from the Secretary of the Treas-
ury. This would necessitate the employment of a considerable addi-
tional force of Government inspectors, and this additional cost is
prohibitive to an operation of the coaling plant. C. Jutte & Co., of
Pittsburg, were largely interested in this coaling project, and at a sale
of the plant in September, 1907, to satisf^^ a judgment of $80,000
rendered in their favor, one of their subsidiary corporations was the
highest bidder, acquiring the property for $15,000.

Effect of canal on railroad freigJit rates. — No data are available
regarding this subject, but under present conditions the canal can
hardly be said to be a factor in fixing railroad rates.

Beceipts, expenses^ and maintenance. — No definite data regarding
expense of maintaining this canal are available since the canal has
been leased to the Southern Transportation Company. The follow-
ing revenues were received from collections while the Canal Company
was operating the canal:

From August 15, 1901, to December 31, 1901 .■ . . $4, 088. 26

From Januarv 1, 1902, to December 31, 1902 20, 746. 09

From January 1, 1903, to June 30, 1903 7, 896. 75

Total to June 30, 1903 32, 731. 10


CajniaMmtion arid indebtedness. — Of the common stock 2,476
shares of a par value of $100 each and 774 shares of preferred stock
of the same par vahie were outstanding on March 30, 1906. The
debt of the company consisted of two outstanding notes amounting
to $13,500. There was no mortgage debt. The assessed vahiation
in 1903 was $290,000.

History. — As early as 1855 the legislature of Louisiana authorized
the construction of a canal in St. Bernard Parish to connect the waters
of Lake Borgne with the Mississippi River, near the English Turn,
but only through and upon the plantation owned by one Stewart,
the grantee. In 1868 a corporation known as the Mssissippi and
Mexican Gulf Ship Canal Company was organized to open the canal
under the franchise granted to Stewart. In 1873 the property was
sold on execution of a judgment against the company, and after
several other sales it was sold in 1881 by the State for taxes. In
April, 1884, the property was acquired by the St. Louis, New Orleans
and Atlantic Canal and Transportation Company.

In 1885 the property was again sold for taxes. In April, 1887, it
was bought by the St. Louis, New Orleans and Ocean Canal and
Transportation Company. In 1895 the property was again sold at
sheriff's sale in execution of a judgment, and was bouo;ht by one
Wheelwright. Subsequently the canal property was acquired by one
Sanders, and by him sold to the Lake Borgne Canal Company. Its
subsequent history is given in the foregoing sections of this sketch.


The canal and locks at Oregon City, Oreg., were built during the
years 1870-1872 by the Willamette Falls Canal and Locks Company
and were opened for traffic in 1873. They were sold March 8, 1876,
to the Willamette Transportation and Locks Company and again sold
in 1892 to the Portland General Electric Company. The stock of the
latter company is now owned by the Portland Railway, Light and
Power Company. By the terms of the State legislative act, dated
October 21, 1870, the State could have taken possession in 1893 on
payment of their actual value, but the option was allowed to lapse.

On March 3, 1899, a board of United States engineers was ordered
to examine the locks and report on the desirability of their acquisition
by the United States Government. It is from their report that this
description is taken. This board reported in favor of the acquisition,
provided the works could be obtained for a reasonable sum. They
reported, also, that they regarded $1,200,000, the price demanded
by the present owners, as excessive. The cost of construction was

The locks and canal consist of a flight of 4 locks having a lift of
about 10 feet each, a canal basin just above these about 1,250 feet
long, and a guard-lock 210 feet long connecting this basin with the
upper level. An upper entrance about 1,000 feet long makes the
total length of the canal, including the locks and entrance, about
3,500 feet. The lower part of the canal, including 4 locks, is roughly
cut in the solid rock, and wooden fenders are placed at intervals, to
protect the sides of the vessels passing through the canal. There is a
low dam along the crest of the natural fall in order to secure an even
crest and to raise the water surface probably not over 18 inches or
2 feet.



The works are in bad repair and little is being done to improve
them. The water in the canal is used for manufacturing purposes to
such an extent as to seriously interfere with the usefulness of the
canal to navigation. As a waterway this canal leaves much to be

The following table shows the results of its operation, so far as data
are available:


Tons of Re-
freight, ceipts.

Expend- Neteam-
itures. ings.











Tons of



Net earn-







24, 663 [


36,511 1

28, 518
25, 366
33, S80

$3, 448

24 163


21, 620








26, 731

28, 503


37,559 1 ...



29, 687



In the Census Report on Transportation in 1880, page 21 of the
section on operating canals, it is stated that the Willamette Trans-
portation and Locks Company is a corporation controlled by the Ore-
gon Railway and Navigation Company. In a letter dated August 28,
1907, Mr. F. G. Sykes, general manager of the Portland General Elec-
tric Company, states that the Portland General Electric Company
acquired the canal and locks from the Willamette Transportation and
Locks Company, but that, so far as he knows, neither the Oregon Rail-
way and Navigation Company nor any of its stockholders own any
stock in the Portland General Electric Company, or in the company
operating the canal and locks. Furthermore that the Oregon Rail-
wa}^ and Navigation Company, as far as he knows, will have no stock
or other interest in the successor to the Portland General Electric
Company (Portland Railway, Light and Power Company), nor will
this successor or any of its stockholders hold any interest in the Ore-
gon Railway and Navigation Company.

The toll collector at the locks is the local station agent of the Oregon
Railway and Navigation Company (Southern Pacific) at Oregon
City. One-half of his salary is paid b}^ the Oregon Railway and Nav-
igation Company for his services as agent of that company, and the
other half is paid b}^ the Portland General Electric Company for his
services as toll collector. Mr. Charles H. Caufield, secretary of the
Portland General Electric Company, was formerly secretary of the
Willamette Transportation and Locks Company.

The principal transportation agencies operating on the Willamette
River and passing through the canal and locks are several steamers
operated by the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company and the
boats of the Oregon City Transportation Company. Lines of the
Southern Pacific Railroad parallel the Willamette River on each side.

Sections 4045 to 4058 of the Oregon Code contain certain regula-
tions (enacted in 1876 and 1882) for the control of the canal at Wil-
lamette Falls. The maximum charge for passage through the canal
and locks must not exceed 50 cents per ton for freight and 10 cents
for each passenger carried. The governor, secretary of state, and
State treasurer are constituted a board of canal commissioners, which
has power at all times to visit the canal and locks; is authorized
and required to bring any action necessary to compel the Willamette


Falls Canal and Locks Company or any party claiming under
them to keep and maintain the canal, and whose consent is necessary
for any repairs or improvements unless of immediate emergency.
Boat owners using the locks are required to make out two certified
lists of freight tonnage and passengers passing through the locks,
one of which shall be tendered to the agent of the locks company
and the other to the secretary of the board of canal commissioners.
Quarterly reports of business passing through the locks must be cer-
tified by the locks company to the board.


Certain selected boat tolls and freight tolls exacted by such of the
several important canals as charge toll are repeated in the following
summarized form. A noticeable feature of this compilation of tolls
is the lack of luiiformity in the rates of charges and the basis on
which they are assessed. An examination of these toll charges indi-
cates one of the important reasons for the decline of canals as
agencies of through transportation of freight. The multiplicity and
aggregate amount of boat and freight tolls through the canals, say,
from the sounds of North Carolina to New York City, as well as the
uncertainty in fixing liability among so many agencies in case of
damage, renders the use of the inside route by through lines at
present impracticable. No thorough analysis of these charges is
here attempted. It should be noted that in some cases the toll and
freight charges are not separated, and in others that only the toll
charges are shown. For further information regarding these charges

Online LibraryUnited States. Inland Waterways CommissionPreliminary report of the Inland Waterways Commission. Message from the President transmitting a preliminary report → online text (page 33 of 83)