Today in Great Lakes History - June 21
On June 21, 1942, the Alpena--formerly the Leon Fraser--entered service as the largest vessel on the Great Lakes. The former U.S. Steel bulk freighter, originally 639'6" long, retained at least a tie for that honor until the Wilfred Sykes entered service on April 19, 1950.
Also on June 21, 1942, the U.S. Steel bulk freighter Eugene J. Buffington ran hard aground on Boulder Reef in Lake Michigan and broke in two. The vessel was subsequently recovered and, after a long career with U.S. Steel, was finally sold for scrap in 1980.
The M/V RANGER III was side launched at Christy Ship (Bay Ship), Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin on Saturday, June 21st, 1958. The vessel was custom designed by R.A. Stearns (Bay Engineering) also of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin for the National Park Service, Isle Royale National Park.
On June 21, 1986, during a severe thunderstorm (and unofficial observations of a funnel cloud) in the Duluth area, the Joshua A. Hatfield broke loose from Azcon Scrap Dock in Duluth and was blown across the harbor and ended up hard aground on Park Point (Minnesota Point). She remained stuck for nearly 3 weeks when a storm with east winds pushed the Hatfield free and she blew most of the way back across the harbor back to the scrap dock. Tugs were dispatched in time to safely guide the Hatfield back to the scrap dock. (June seems to be a bad month for U.S. Steel in accidents, with the June 7, 1977 accident involving the William A. Irvin, the June 15, 1943 collision between the D.M. Clemson and the George M. Humphrey, and the June 21, 1942 grounding of the Eugene J. Buffington on Boulder Reef.)
June 21, 1916 - The ANN ARBOR NO. 5, after departing the shipyards in Milwaukee on June 21, 1916 where 3 buckets (blades) were replaced on her starboard propeller, arrived Manistique. While maneuvering around in the harbor she struck the rocky bottom and broke off the same three blades off her starboard propeller.
June 21, 1994 - The Ludington Daily News reported a planned sale of the CITY OF MIDLAND 41 to Contessa Cruise lines of Minnesota. The deal included an option to sell the Spartan and Contessa was prohibited from competing against Lake Michigan Carferry, but it fell through.
The 3-mast wooden schooner GEORGE MURRAY was launched in Manitowoc, WI on 21 June 1873. At the time, she was billed as the largest vessel ever built on Lake Michigan. Her dimensions were 299' x 34' x 14', with the capacity to carry 50,000 bushels of grain. She was built by G. S. Rand for J. R. Slauson of Racine, WI.
On 21 June 1900 the wooden bulk freighter R. C. BRITTAIN was raised at Toledo, Ohio. She was then brought to Sarnia where repairs were made and the engine of the tug F. A. FOLGER was installed in her. She had previously sunk at Toledo and remained there for several years before being raised. She lasted until 1912 when she burned at Sarnia.
This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell
II and the Great Lakes
Ships We Remember series