Reappearance of long-lost sign from repair yard brings a smile

Capt. Steve Kress, vice president of operations for McAllister Towing and Transportation Co., got a pleasant surprise one dreary wet and windswept day this winter. Three of his colleagues walked into his office on Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, N.Y., and presented him with a weathered wooden sign reading "Tug & Barge Dry Docks Inc."

"I didn't think it existed anymore," said Kress. "It surprised the hell out of me."

Capt. Steve Kress holds a long-lost sign from McAllister's Hoboken, N.J., repair yard. Also in the photo is the model of a barge used to lighter ships and transport their cargos to various points in the harbor. (Courtesy Interport Towing & Transportation)

Tug & Barge Dry Docks was McAllister's repair yard at the foot of Pavonia Ave. in Hoboken, N.J., until 1986.

"The city foreclosed on the property and kicked us out," said Kress. "By eminent domain the city of Hoboken turned tug and barge into condos and office buildings."

George Pillepich, who was the yard's master carpenter, and Bruce Southerland and Robert Mattson, both, in turn, general managers of the yard, found the sign and presented it to Kress at a poignant moment. Just that week Kress had hired a Weeks Marine crane to hoist Joan McAllister onto land at the company's Staten Island yard.

"We are going to do all of our small boat repairs here now unless something comes along that is too big for us to handle,” said Kress. "We're bringing it back into our own hands."

By Professional Mariner Staff