Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Essayons - A once great Tug!!

I took a walk out to the old Essayons this afternoon to see what it looked like close up. 
Essayons Ruins
Essayon pilot house, roof, stack and navigation mast

Essayons Smoke Stack

Much like going to a graveyard, the once great tug sits on the bottom of the bay, unnoticed nearly buried in the February snow drifts.

The pride of the fleet, the Essayons was the historic retired Army Corps of Engineers tugboat that had been a Twin Ports fixture since 1908. The tug's engine is on display at the Marine Museum in Canal Park.

The tug's owner was hoping to turn the boat into a floating bed and breakfast. However, vandal damage postponed the plan in 2004 and the tug was than docked near the Duluth Timber Company.

In 2009, shifting harbor ice pushed by a strong northeast wind, punctured the hull and the boat sank the the bottom, where it still rests today.

Perhaps someday it will be raised, but, for now, it quietly rests in peace, out of sight, and unnoticed.

"ESSAYONS" means - "Let Us Try" and is the branch song of the Army Corps of Engineers.


Essayons, sound out the battle cry 
Essayons, we'll win or we'll die 
Essayons, there's nothing we won't try 
We're the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
Pin the castle on my collar 
I've done my training for the team 
You can call me an engineer soldier 
The warrior spirit has been my dream 
We are builders, we are fighters 
We are destroyers just as well 
There've been doubters who met with the sappers 
1 - We know our sappers will never fail 
2 - And then we blew them all straight to hell 
Our brothers fighting on the battlefield 
Look to us to point the way 
We get there first and then we take the risks 
To build the roads and the air strips 
And bridge the mighty river streams 
We don't care who gets the glory 
We're sure of one thing, this we know 
Somewhere out there an engineer soldier 
Designed the plan for the whole darn show 
Essayons whether in war or peace 
We will bear our red and our white 
Essayons we serve America 
And the U.S. Army Corps of engineers 
Essayons! Essayons!


  1. great story and pics dennis!
    thank you!

  2. Bob Woodbury, Winslow, MaineFebruary 27, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    Doubt it can be re-floated and refinished. Sad.

  3. What a great history lesson! Thanks! Is the Essayons wreck site/Duluth Timber Company visible in any of the streaming cams (even from afar)? I see that it's near the bridge, but can't quite get a grip on exactly where to look.

  4. Yes, the Essayons can be seen on the PierB cam if I turn it. Let me know when you will be watching and I will turn the camera for you to see.

    1. Julie In LouisianaMarch 2, 2015 at 5:43 PM

      So excited! With clues from your post and pics, I found it with Google Earth. That big tilted smokestack is pretty easy to spot. Could you turn the Pier B cam that direction sometime this weekend (March 7/8)? Any time that's convenient for you.

  5. love the new outly of this site! so, is this "wreck" visible for a shorline. or do you need to venture out on the lake? and if it is visible from shore, whereabouts? thanks and great pics of he ice caves as well! Park Rapids, MN

  6. wow this website is fantastic with the new look! It's brighter and much easier to find the links with the brighter, bolder print. Great job!

  7. Julie in LouisianaMarch 6, 2015 at 9:10 PM

    Hi, Dennis -- here's a reminder -- could you turn the Pier B cam toward the Essayons sometime during the weekend? Thanks! Love this website!

  8. The Pier B Camera is looking at the sunken Essayons per Julie's request.

    1. Julie in LouisianaMarch 7, 2015 at 8:26 AM

      Thank you, Dennis -- your cameras are so much fun to visit every day to see what there is to see. Maybe till shipping season starts up again in a couple weeks, you could randomly shift Pier B cam's angle every few days so we can sightsee a bit during the winter lull? Thanks again for the view of the Essayons wreckage. Ready for harbor view again whenever you are.

  9. Sorry I missed that! Thanks for all you do to entertain us southerners. :)