Today in Great Lakes History
November 1884, PHOENIX (wooden propeller wrecking tug, 173 gross tons, built
in 1862 at Cleveland, Ohio) caught fire in one of her coal bunkers at 7:00
a.m. while she was tied up to the C. S. R. Railroad slip at Amherstburg,
Ontario. Several vessels, including the Dunbar tug SHAUGHRAUN and the steam
barge MARSH, tried to save her. The SHAUGHRAUN finally got a line on her and
pulled her away from the dock and towed her near Norwell’s wharf where she
burned and sank.
Nov 1969, the RIDGETOWN (steel propeller bulk freighter, 557 foot, 7637 gross
tons, built in 1905 at Chicago, Illinois) was laid up at Toronto for the last
time with a load of grain. In the Spring of 1970, Upper Lakes Shipping, Ltd.
sold her to Canadian Dredge & Dock Co., Ltd. of Toronto. She was sunk at
Nanticoke, Ontario for use as a temporary breakwater during the construction
of harbor facilities in the Summer of 1970. Still later, she was raised and
sunk again in the Summer of 1974 as a breakwater to protect marina facilities
at Port Credit, Ontario.
November 17, 1984, the EUGENE P THOMAS was towed by the TUG MALCOLM to Thunder
Bay, Ontario for scrapping by Shearmet.
the morning of 17 November 1926, the PETER A B WIDENER (steel straight-deck
bulk freighter, 580 foot, 7053 gross tons, built in 1906 at Chicago, Illinois)
was running upbound on Lake Superior in ballast when it encountered strong
Northeasterly winds. About six miles Southwest of the Rock of Ages Light on
Isle Royale, the captain gave orders to change course for Duluth, Minnesota.
There was no response because the wheel chains had parted from the drum, thus
disabling the rudder. Repairs cost $4,000.
Nov 1972, the MICHIPICOTEN (steel straight-deck bulk freighter, 549 foot, 6490
gross tons, built in 1905 at W. Bay City, Michigan) departed Quebec in tow of
Polish tug KORAL for scrapping in Spain. The tow encountered bad weather and
the MICHIPICOTEN broke in two during a major fall storm on the Gulf of St.
Lawrence. Her forward section sank on 17 November off Anticosti Island the
after section sank the next day.
propeller JOHN STUART burned about two miles from Seewaing, Michigan at 9:00
p.m., 17 November 1872. She had been aground there for some time.
November 1887, ARIZONA (wooden propeller package freighter, 189 foot, 962
gross tons, built in 1868 at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying oils and acid used
in mining operations when her dangerous cargo caught fire as she approached
the harbor at Marquette, Michigan in heavy seas. Poisonous fumes drove all of
the crew topside, leaving the vessel unmanageable. She ran against the
breakwater and the crew jumped off. The burning steamer "chased" the crew down
the breakwater toward town with the poisonous fumes blowing ashore. She
finally beached herself and burned herself out. She was later recovered and
November 1873, the wooden 2-mast schooner E M CARRINGTON sank in nine feet of
water at Au Sable, Michigan. She had a load of 500 barrels of flour and 7,000
bushels of grain. She was recovered and lasted another seven years.
November 1880, GARIBALDI (2-mast wooden schooner, 124 foot, 209 tons, built in
1863 at Port Rowan, Ontario) was carrying coal in a storm on Lake Ontario. She
anchored to ride out the storm, but after riding out the gale for 15 hours,
her anchor cable parted and her crew was forced to try to bring her into
Weller’s Bay. She stranded on the bar. One of the crew froze solid in a
standing position and his ghost is supposed to still haunt that area. The
vessel was recovered and rebuilt. She lasted until at least 1898.
November 1870, BADGER STATE (3-mast wooden bark, 150 foot, 302 tons, built in
1853 at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) stranded and wrecked at Sleeping Bear Dune on
Lake Michigan during a storm.
tug portion of the PRESQUE ISLE (Hull#322) built by Halter Marine Services,
New Orleans, Louisiana, was upbound in the Welland Canal on November 16,1973,
en route to Erie, Pennsylvania to join with the barge.
R WHITE JR (Hull#722) was launched in 1978 at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
Nov 1909, the JAMES S DUNHAM (steel propeller bulk freighter, 420 foot, 4795
gross tons, built in 1906 at W. Bay City, Michigan) encountered heavy seas and
began hitting bottom where charts indicated 35 feet of water, even though she
was in ballast and only drawing 17 feet of water. Rather than risk tearing the
bottom out of her, the captain decided to beach her at Marble Point, just east
of the Bad River outlet. After the heavy snow showers cleared, a message in a
bottle was floated ashore to an observer.
steel bulk freighters SIR JAMES DUNN and GEORGIAN BAY in tow of the Panamanian
tug MC THUNDER arrived at Aliaga, Turkey for scrapping on 16 Nov 1989, 129
days after departing Thunder Bay.
November 1887, PACIFIC (wooden propeller freighter, 187 foot, 766 gross tons,
built in 1864 at Cleveland, Ohio) was loaded with lumber bound from Deer Park,
Michigan for Michigan City, Indiana. After leaving the dock, she grounded on a
shoal due to low water levels. The nearby Lifesaving Service took her crew off
and then returned for the captain's dog. She was broken up by a gale on 19
1892, the ANN ARBOR #1 arrived at Frankfort, Michigan on her maiden trip.
November 16, 1990 - MWT ceased operations, ending more than a century of
carferry service. The last run was made by the BADGER, with Capt. Bruce Masse
1981, Interlake’s JOHN SHERWIN entered lay-up in Superior, Wisconsin and has
not seen service since.
November 1869, ADELL (2-mast wooden schooner, 48 foot, 25 gross tons, built in
1860 at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was driven ashore during a storm about a half
mile below Bay View Pier near Milwaukee. Her skipper had every penny he owned
sunk into that vessel. He was able to salvage her rigging and spars and left
them on the beach overnight. The next day he returned and found that all had
been stolen during the night.
Nov 1883, MANISTEE (wooden side-wheeler, 184 foot, 677 tons, built in 1867 at
Cleveland, Ohio) broke up in a gale west of the Keweenaw Peninsula off of
Eagle Harbor, Michigan. This is one of Lake Superior’s worst disasters.
Estimates of the number who died range from 23 to 37.
from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Steve
Haverty and Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series
is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more