BNHA Steam Tug Baltimore


National Historic Landmark

National Register of Historic Places

Interpretive Framework

Seeking Prosperity on the Chesapeake: Baltimore History from Colonial Times through the 1800s

Resource Type

Points of Interest

1415 Key Hwy

Baltimore, Maryland 21230

The steam tug Baltimore was built in 1906 by the Skinner Shipbuilding Company at the foot of Cross Street in Baltimore. The tug spent its entire career in and around Baltimore, moving barges and workboats, breaking ice, and carrying city and harbor commissioners and other VIPs for harbor inspection tours.

The hull is constructed of riveted iron, and the deckhouse is built of wood. The pilothouse is above the deckhouse, set back several feet from the front of the deckhouse below. It has an elliptical forward face, a flat rear face, and windows all around. The door is located on the port side, and a pipe ladder to the pilothouse roof is located to starboard. The pilothouse is dominated by the massive wheel which controls the rudder with wire rope, chains, and iron rods. A single "scotch" boiler provides steam for the compound reciprocating engine. The rig is standard for a tug of the turn of the 20th century. A tall wooden jack staff is mounted behind the stem, a small foremast is atop the pilothouse, and the mainmast is mounted to the rear of the deckhouse.

The tug is maintained as an operating floating exhibit by the Baltimore Museum of Industry, near the dock area where the tug tied up during its working life. The vessel was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1993.