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Outbound Maumee Bay, 2002.

Jim Hoffman

Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- Calumet

By George Wharton

The Calumet was built in 1929 by the Great Lakes Engineering Works, River Rouge (Detroit), MI as their hull # 269 and was launched as the Myron C. Taylor on July 15, 1929 for the Pittsburgh Steamship Company (the private fleet of the U.S. Steel Corp.). Constructed as a Great Lakes traditional styled straight decker, the Myron C. Taylor was 1 of 3 new vessels joining the Pittsburgh fleet that year; the other 2 being the William G. Clyde (now the Maumee) and the Horace Johnson (scrapped 1984). By the end of 1929, the Pittsburgh fleet consisted of 70 steamers and 14 barges.  Upon entering service, the Myron C. Taylor  was named the fleet's flagship, an honor retained until 1938 when the designation was passed to the William A. Irvin.  The title was inherited from the James A. Farrell which had been the fleet's flagship since 1913.  The vessel's namesake was Mr. Myron Charles Taylor; Chairman of the Finance Committee of the U.S. Steel Corp. from 1927 to 1934 and was their chairman of the board from 1932 through until 1938.  Mr. Taylor died May 6, 1959, remaining a director of the corporation until his death.

As built, the Myron C. Taylor was powered by a yard-built 2,200 i.h.p. (1,618 KW) triple expansion, 3 cylinder steam engine with 2 coal-fired water-tube boilers. The straight deck lake boat had a cargo capacity (dwt) of 12,500 tons (12,700 mt).  The vessel was built with an extra "guest" deck directly below the wheelhouse to accommodate company management and corporate guests.

The Myron C. Taylor sailed on her maiden voyage from Detroit, MI to Duluth, MN on August 27, 1929. The lake boat serviced the Pittsburgh fleet until the spring of 1956. Due to an increase in limestone demand, she was transferred to the Bradley Transportation Co. fleet out of Rogers City, MI (managed by the Pittsburgh fleet). Also transferred to the Bradley fleet at this time was the steamer A. F. Harvey.  Her early years on the lakes were untarnished by any major incidents.

On May 21, 1956, the Myron C. Taylor departed Duluth, MN with her last load as a straight decker arriving June 1, 1956 at the Christy Corp. shipyard in Sturgeon Bay, WI; emerging 4 months and 11 days later as a self-unloader. This was the fastest self-unloader conversion on record. Also included were the lengthening of the forward cabins and aft deckhouse to allow for the expansion and modernization of the crew's quarters. Her self-unloading system as installed consisted of pneumatically controlled gates opening to 2 four-foot wide (1.22m) rubber conveyor belts feeding a forward mounted bucket elevator leading up to a hopper. This hopper fed a bow-mounted 250' (76.20m) discharge boom that could be swung 110 degrees to port or starboard.  The Taylor left Sturgeon Bay in the fall of 1956 to pick up her first cargo as a self unloader from Michigan Limestone's new plant at Port Dolomite, MI.

The self-unloader had 4 holds serviced by 16 hatches where she was capable of carrying 12,450 tons (12,650 mt) at a mid-summer draft of 22' 02" (6.76m).  Her holds had the cubic capacity to handle 12,600 net tons (equivalent to 11,250 tons / 11,430 mt) of coal.  The Taylor was repowered during the winter lay-up of 1967/68 at Toledo's American Ship Building Co. with a new Nordberg FS-1316-HSC four stroke cycle 4,234 b.h.p. (3,114 KW) diesel engine burning intermediate grade 180 fuel, the power being fed to a single fixed pitch propeller.  A bow thruster was installed in 1988.

Following the break-up and sinking of Bradley fleetmate Carl D. Bradley on November 18, 1958, in a precedent for the shipping industry, the remaining 8 boats of the Bradley fleet tied up on November 22 out of respect for the lost crewmen.  Four the fleet tied up at Rogers City, MI where, at noon, remembrance services were held.  The Myron C. Taylor tied up at Conneaut, OH where arrangements had been made with local clergy to conduct similar services at noon to coincide with the Rogers City services.

The Taylor rejoined the Pittsburgh fleet on July 1, 1967 when the U.S. Steel Corp. announced the merger of the Bradley fleet and its Pittsburgh fleet, the merged fleets being renamed US Steel Great Lakes Fleet.  This combined fleet became a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Steel Corp. in 1981 thus becoming a common carrier. At this time, the fleet was renamed USS Great Lakes Fleet and consisted of 34 vessels. Considered huge at the time she was built, the Myron C. Taylor was now one of the fleet's smallest carriers.  The Taylor's  smaller size permitted her access to many of the smaller ports bordering the Great Lakes. Before her transfer to the Bradley fleet, the Taylor's activity was primarily focused in the iron ore trade. After becoming part of the Bradley fleet and its subsequent merger into the Pittsburgh fleet, the Taylor's cargoes changed to limestone, stone, aggregates, coal, and salt with only the odd spot load of iron ore.

On December 1, 1983, the Taylor transited the Welland Canal for the first time, the self-unloader being laden with sand for Hamilton, ON.  Then, on September 25, 1985, the Myron C. Taylor carried the first load of sand out of Brevort, MI.  On October 14, 1989,a reduction gear failure on Lake Huron 2 hours north of Port Huron, MI required the towing of the vessel to Calcite, MI for repairs.  The carrier returned to service on November 25, 1989.  An allision with a bridge abutment in Cleveland on July 2, 1997 resulted in leaky rivets, tripped and fractured frames necessitated the Taylor to go to Toledo for temporary repairs.

The Myron C. Taylor laid up for a final time in USS Great Lakes Fleet colors at 5:01pm on November 11, 2000 in Sarnia, ON.  Her lay up in Sarnia was a result of a pending sale to a U.S. affiliate of a Canadian shipping company. Late March, 2001; the sale of the Myron C. Taylor and her fleetmate Calcite II was announced: the vessels had been sold to Grand River Navigation Co., Cleveland, OH; an affiliate of Lower Lakes Towing Ltd., Port Dover, ON. On Saturday, April 21, 2001; the vessel was christened Calumet in honor of the Calumet River which empties into Lake Michigan at Chicago, IL. Also christened at this time was the Calcite II which became the Maumee. A third former fleet mate, the George A. Sloan, was reflagged Canadian and christened Mississagi as part of the same ceremony, being part of the initial sale.

After a refit including the painting of her hull Lower Lakes grey, the Calumet departed Sarnia May 10, 2001 on her maiden voyage under the management of Lower Lakes Transportation Co., Williamsville, NY in ballast to Calcite, MI where she loaded stone for Ontario Stone in Cleveland, OH. The Calumet's activities for her new owners continued to be concentrated in the limestone, stone, aggregates, coal, sand, and salt trades primarily on the lower lakes, servicing many of the customers she had previously serviced before her sale.

In early July, 2003, the end of the Calumet's self-unloading boom was damaged during a thunderstorm when a strong gust of wind  caught the boom causing it to strike the dock at Marblehead, OH.  The vessel went to Sarnia for repairs, returning to service on July 18, 2003.  On April 2, 2004, the Calumet ran soft aground on an uncharted shoal in the shipping channel while entering the harbor at Fairport, OH.  The vessel was drawing 21' (6.40m) at the time and shoaling had reduced the depth to 18' (5.49m) where the charts indicated there should have been in excess of 22' (6.71m) of depth.  The Calumet was not damaged.  While docking at Detroit's Motor City Intermodal dock # 2 on January 6, 2007, the Calumet struck a submerged object causing a 10 degree twist to the rudder stock.  The carrier laid up there for the winter and repairs.

On November 15, 2007, the Calumet struck a concrete wall along the Old River in Cleveland, OH after having offloaded stone at Ontario Stone.  The incident expedited the ending of the Calumet's years on the Great Lakes as it was expected that the veteran laker was to be scrapped at the end of the 2007 season.  After necessary temporary repairs were made to the starboard hull damage, on November 18, 2007 the Calumet departed the Ontario Stone Dock in Cleveland sailing to Port Colborne, where she was expected to be scrapped.  After arriving at Port Colborne's stone dock, the crew shut the Calumet down and left the vessel for the last time.  On November 20, the Calumet was shifted to International Marine Salvage's south salvage berth (in Port Colborne) where her final fate awaits her.

Overall Dimensions (metric)
 Length  603' 09" (184.02m)
 Beam  60' 00" (18.29m)
 Depth  32' 00" (9.75m)
 Capacity (mid-summer)  12,450 tons (12,650 mt)
at a draft of 22' 02" (6.76m)
 Power (diesel)  4,234 b.h.p. (3,114 KW)

Scrapping progress at Port Colborne, ON,
Nov. 6, 2008. Jeff Cameron (1)





Pictures of the Calumet's final voyage:
Cleveland, OH to Port Colborne, ON, Nov. 18 & 19, 2007.
(Click thumbnail at right.)

St. Clair River, July 29, 2007.
John McCreery

Saginaw River, Oct. 18, 2007. Todd Shorkey

Downbound at Lake Huron buoys 1 & 2,
Point Edward, ON, Nov.1, 2007. Marc Dease

At Holland, MI passing the lighthouse known as
"Big Red", Sept. 29, 2007. Marc Vander Meulen

Holland, MI, Sept. 29, 2007.
Marc Vander Meulen

Bow view. Marc Vander Meulen

Sunset on the St. Clair River by Marine City, MI,
July 23, 2007. Jeff Mast

Further down on the St. Clair River.
Jeff Mast

Unloading gravel in Mentor< OH, July 24, 2007.
Robert Ottmers

Sequence of views  on the Detroit River,
June 15, 2007. Wade P. Streeter (1)






Arthur M. Anderson passing the Calumet on the Detroit River, May 30, 2007. Angie Williams

Backing out the Rouge River through the Jefferson Ave. bridge, June 11, 2007. Matthew Seferian

At Alpena's Lafarge dock, June 2007.
Ben & Chanda McClain

Ready to unload coal at Alpena, May 21, 2007.
Ben & Chanda McClain

Powering up to leave. Ben & Chanda McClain

Leaving Alpena. Ben & Chanda McClain

Entering the St. Clair River at Port Huron,
May 2, 2007. Bruce Hurd

Finishing loading salt at Fairport, OH,
May 18, 2007. Bob Vincent

Arriving Alpena with a load of coal, May 21, 2007.
Ben & Chanda McClain

Unloading salt at Stoneport, MI, Dec., 2006.
Ben & Chanda McClain

Calumet upbound nearing Independence Bridge, Saginaw River, Jan. 1, 2007. Todd Shorkey

Stern view. Todd Shorkey

Entering the Menominee River, Aug. 30, 2006.
Dick Lund

Swinging out the boom. Dick Lund

Unloading, Menominee, MI, Nov. 18, 2006.
Dick Lund

Saginaw River, Aug. 18, 2006.
Todd Shorkey

Outbound the Saginaw River at Zilwaukee, MI,
Aug. 20, 2006. Gordy Garris

Bow profile. Gordy Garris

Calumet and the Manistee on the Saginaw River,
July 29, 2006. Gordy Garris

Stern view. Gordy Garris

Calumet at Lafayette Bridge, Bay City, MI,
Aug. 18, 2006. Todd Shorkey

Outbound the Saginaw River passing the
Princess Wenona tour boat, June 19, 2006.
Todd Shorkey

Close up. Todd Shorkey

Sandusky, July 2006. Kevin Davis

Backing into Fairport, OH, crew members on the aft deck, May 26, 2006. Bob Vincent

Loading stone at Stoneport, MI, May 29, 2006.
Ben & Chanda McClain

Another view. Ben & Chanda McClain

Upbound the Saginaw River on Dec. 7, 2005 following a track made in the ice by American Republic on the previous day. Stephen Hause

Saginaw River, Dec. 7, 2005. Todd Shorkey

Bow profile. Todd Shorkey

Heading down the Calumet River after loading coal at KCBX in early June, 2005. Mark D. Veum

Meeting the M/V American Spirit just outside the East Outer Channel on Lake Erie in late June, 2005.
Mark D. Veum

Unloading at Valley Asphalt Paving dock on the Saginaw River, Aug. 23, 2005. Gordy Garris

Bow view Sarnia 2003. N. Schultheiss

View on deck

Close up of draft markings.

Forward cabins.

Stack and name.

Forward Cabins.

View from unloading boom.

Calumet stack.

Beautiful wood work. N. Schultheiss

Wheel stand..

Wide view of pilothouse.

Officer's dinning room.

Captain's room.


Mate's cabin.

Video of the Christening (April 21, 2001)

Donna Rohn about to christen the Calumet

Sarnia's North Slip with the Calcite II, Myron C. Taylor and George A. Sloan,
Mar. 3, 2001. N. Schultheiss

Stern view. N. Schultheiss

Arriving North Slip Sarnia, Nov. 2000,
a new era begins. Jason LaDue

Myron C. Taylor in Sarnia, Apr. 14, 2001.
 N. Schultheiss

Paint job in progress, Apr. 19, 2001.
N. Schultheiss

Myron C. Taylor name is painted out. N. Schultheiss

Close up of name board. N. Schultheiss

180 degree view of pilothouse, 2001. N. Schultheiss

Lounge and office. N. Schultheiss

Engine control room. N. Schultheiss

On Christening Day, Apr. 21, 2001. N. Schultheiss

Brand new flagship Myron C. Taylor arriving Two Harbors Minnesota on her Maiden Voyage in 1929 to load taconite.
*Great Lakes Lore Museum, Rogers City, MI, courtesy Steve Haverty
(*also the following 5 photos)

Myron C. Taylor unloading date and location unknown, but the William J. Olcott and another steamship are visible.

Myron C. Taylor in port.
(date & location unknown)

Myron C. Taylor in dry dock.

Stern view of the classic stern.

Stern view of her leaving port while a self unloader yet still a steamer. Dated between 1956-1968.

Apr. 14, 1979.
Marc Vander Meulen collection

4017-84-1200dpi.jpg (79613 bytes)
Outbound Holland, MI, July 6, 1984.
Herman Phillips

Myron C. Taylor in Cleveland, 1987. Al Hart

Lake St. Clair, May 28, 1992
Skip Meier

Myron C. Taylor arriving Boyne City coal dock.
Rod Burdick

Cleveland, July 25, 2000. TZ

Unloading, Cleveland, Oct. 9, 2000. TZ

Close-up. TZ

Aerial view. Don Coles

St. Clair River, Nov. 2001. David Michelson

Calumet at the lower guide wall to the Black Rock Lock, Buffalo NY, Aug. 1, 2004.
Brian Wroblewski

Stern view. Brian Wroblewski

Departing Bay Ship with new paint, Jan. 2003. Wendell Wilke

Outbound as the Ryerson looks on.
Wendell Wilke

Detroit River, Oct. 17, 2001. Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

Detroit River, Sept. 9, 2002.
 Mike Nicholls

New paint job, Jan. 2003 Scott Best

Stern view departing the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal. Scott Best

Inbound Cleveland, Sept. 20, 2001. TZ

Close up of stern. TZ

Underway. Jim Hoffman

Loading Marblehead, Oh. R. LeLievre

Detroit River Sept. 8, 2002. Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

Fresh paint on the Calumet and Mississagi.

Detroit River, Oct. 17, 2001. Mike Nicholls

At Manitowoc, WI, Aug. 2002. Doug Swain

Upbound the Saginaw River, Apr. 13, 2005.
Todd Shorkey

Bow profile. Todd Shorkey

Stern view. Todd Shorkey

At the P & C Dock, Conneaut, OH,
Oct., 2003. Michael Roberts

Bow close up. Michael Roberts

Panoramic view. Michael Roberts

Calumet downbound on St Clair River, Walpole Island in background, Aug. 16, 2007.
George Miller

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