Today in Great Lakes History - October 31
CANADIAN EXPLORER's sea trials were conducted on October 31, 1983 on Lake Erie where a service speed of 13.8 m.p.h. was recorded.
The EDWIN H. GOTT was christened October 31, 1978.
On October 31, 1973, the H.M. Griffith entered service.
J.W. McGIFFIN cleared Midland, Ont. on her maiden voyage October 31, 1973 bound for Thunder Bay, Ont. to load iron ore for Hamilton, Ont.
The CADILLAC (4) was launched October 31, 1942 as a) LAKE ANGELINA.
ELMGLEN (2) cleared Owen Sound, Ont. on October 31, 1984 on her first trip in P. & H. colors.
On October 31, 1966 while downbound in the St. Marys River loaded with 11,143 tons of potash for Oswego, NY, the HALLFAX ran aground on a rocky reef and settled to the bottom with her hold full of water. She had grounded on Pipe Island Twins Reef just north of DeTour, MI.
The CHARLES L. HUTCHINSON (3) struck a reef the night of October 31, 1925 three miles south of Manitou Island, off the Keweenaw Peninsula, on Lake Superior.
On October 31, 1983 the SYLVANIA was towed out of the Frog Pond by the harbor tugs ARKANSAS and WYOMING. She was handed over to the tug OHIO for delivery to the Triad Salvage Co. at Ashtabula, OH arriving there on November 1st. Dismantling was completed there in 1984. Thus ended 78 years of service. Ironically the SYLVANIA, the first built of the 504 foot class bulkers, was the last survivor of that class. During her career with Columbia Transportation, the SYLVANIA had carried over 20 million tons and netted over $35 million.
On 31 October 1883, CITY OF TORONTO (wooden passenger-package freight sidewheeler, 207', 898 GC, built in 1864 at Niagara, Ontario) caught fire at the Muir Brothers shipyard at Port Dalhousie, Ontario and was totally destroyed. She previously had her paddle boxes removed so she could pass through the Welland Canal, and she was in the shipyard to have them reassembled that winter.
On 31 October 1874, the tug FAVORITE was towing the schooner WILLIE NEELER on Lake Erie. At about 10:30 PM, near Bar Point, the schooner suddenly sheered and before the tow line could be cast off, the FAVORITE capsized and sank. One life was lost. The rest of the crew clung to the upper works which had become dislodged from the vessel and they were rescued by the schooner's lifeboats.
On 31 October 1821, WALK-IN-THE-WATER (wooden side-wheeler, 135', 339 t, built in 1818 at Black Rock [Buffalo], NY) was wrecked on Point Abino, on the Canadian shore of Lake Erie during a storm. She was the first steam-powered vessel above Niagara and her frequent comings and goings during her career were very much in the newspapers in Detroit but her loss was not mentioned not at all since this steamer was virtually the only source of news from the east. Her engine was installed by Robert Fulton himself. After the wreck, it went into the steamer SUPERIOR and later ran a lumber mill in Saginaw, MI.
On 31 October 1880, TRANCHEMONTAGNE (wooden schooner, 108', 130 t, built in 1864 at Sorel, P. Q.) was loaded with rye and sailing in a storm on Lake Ontario. She struck the breakwater at Oswego, New York head-on at about 3:00 AM. She stove in her bow and quickly sank. The crew took to the rigging, except for one who was washed overboard and rode a provision box from her deck to shore. The Lifesaving Service rescued the rest from the breakwater. The schooner broke up quickly in the storm.
This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history
Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Jody Aho, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series