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D. M. Philbin 1914 - 1929
Sylvania 1929 - 1983

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Built by West Bay City Ship Building Co. of West Bay City, MI as hull # 613. Christened and launched on March 18, 1905 as SYLVANIA for Duluth Steamship Co. (Managed by G.A. Tomlinson) of Duluth, MN and entered service in April, 1905. Dimensions: 524’ loa x 54’00” beam x 26’07” depth; 6,272 GRT 4,826 NRT. Cargo Capacity: 9,500 tons. Powered by an 1,800 ihp triple expansion steam engine. Involved in a collision with the SIR HENRY BESSEMER on June 12, 1905 off of Whitefish Point on Lake Superior as a result of confused passing signals.

Her name was changed to D. M. PHILBIN in 1914 until 1929 when her name was changed back to SYLVANIA. On August 30, 1916, collided with the JOHN W. GATES at an ore dock in Duluth, MN. On May 19, 1918 collided with the steamer BELGIUM two miles NE of Whitefish Point in fog. Collided with the ORLANDO M. POE suffering slight damage in the Detroit River on July 3, 1922. On April 30, 1929 the vessel was coming along the south shore of Lake Erie when the crew mistook the Conneaut airport beacon for the harbor light and ran aground on a sandbar off Whitman's Creek to the west of Conneaut. The captain elected to flood part of the ship to keep it stable in the rough weather and the vessel was not released until May 7, when the tugs Abner C. Harding and Reliance pulled it free. As a result of the accident, there was a change in the radio beacon signals so the same confusion would not happen again.

Ownership changed to The Tomlinson Fleet Corp. of Cleveland, OH in 1954. In the winter of 1957 - 58 the SYLVANIA was lengthened 48 feet to 572’ LOA and converted to a self-unloader by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. of Manitowoc, WI. New 5,889 GRT, 10,300 NRT. Cargo Capacity: 10,500 tons. Sunk in 27’ of water at the Peerless Cement Co. dock at Port Huron, MI just below the Bluewater Bridge while unloading stone on June 1, 1967 after the Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. package freighter RENVOYLE lost control in the strong currents and rammed the SYLVANIA at 10:10 p.m. on the starboard side at hatch #27. Raised by McQueen Marine Ltd. on June 12 and was towed to American Ship Building Co. in Lorain, OH for repairs. Collided with the DIAMOND ALKALI in the Fighting Island Channel of the Detroit River on November 29, 1968 during a snow squall, bow reconstructed after this mishap at American Ship Building in Toledo, OH.

Transferred to Columbia Transportation (Oglebay Norton Co.) of Cleveland, OH in 1971. Stranded in the Detroit River on September 1, 1971. Ship ran aground at Belle Isle in the Detroit River on November 8, 1972 while in transit to Connors Creek power plant; freed after 22.5 hours with the assistance of 3 tugs. On June 2, 1973 she collided with the FRANK PURNELL north of the Detroit River Light in fog. On August 23, 1973 the SYLVANIA lost wheel and rudder control near Trenton, MI.Converted to oil fired boilers and had a bow thruster installed by Nicholson Terminal & Dock Co. of River Rouge, MI in 1974. A fire broke out in the hold on August 20, 1976 while moored at Lorain, OH. Ship ran aground near Trenton, MI on July 31, 1976.

The SYLVANIA made her last trip on May 10, 1980 and laid up for the final time at Toledo, OH. Towed to Ashtabula, OH on November 1, 1983 for scrapping by Triad Salvage Co.

 

Sylvania 1905 - 1914
(Duluth Steamship Co.)

Early view of Sylvania loading ore at Superior, WI
(Paul C. LaMarre III collection)

On the St. Clair River.
(Pesha photo from the Paul C. LaMarre Jr. collection)

Postcard view at the coal dock in Washburn, WI.
(From the Paul C. LaMarre III collection)

Postcard view of Sylvania in the Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie.
(From the Paul C. LaMarre III collection)

Postcard view of Sylvania and Saxona unloading at Conneaut, OH.
(From the Paul C. LaMarre III collection)

At a shipyard for repairs after a collision with the Sir Henry Bessemer, June 1905.
(Detroit Publishing Co., Library of Congress collection)

Most all of the bent and torn steel has been removed, June 1905.
(Detroit Publishing Co., Library of Congress collection)

 
D. M. Philbin 1914 - 1929
(Duluth Steamship Co.)

Above the Soo Locks.
(Photo by A. E. Young from the Paul C. LaMarre Jr. collection)

Aground near Ashtabula, OH after and early season gale. May 3 1929.
(Rev. M. N. Weber collection courtesy of Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

Under tow after grounding near Ashtabula, May 3 1929.
(Rev. M. N. Weber collection courtesy of Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

Undergoing bow repairs.
(From the Paul C. LaMarre Jr. collection)

Sylvania 1929 - 1954
(Duluth Steamship Co.)

Just departed the Soo Locks headed upbound for Lake Superior.
(Photographer unknown from the J.R. Hoffman Marine collection.)

Sailing in ballast in the St. Marys River.
(From the Paul C. LaMarre Jr. collection)

Sylvania "rides one out" in the 1930's.
(A. Bottrell collection courtesy of Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

Upbound at Port Huron.
(From the Paul C. LaMarre Jr. collection)

Upbound in the St. Clair River with a deck load of Dodges.
(A. Bottrell collection courtesy of Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

Unloading ore.
(Paul C. LaMarre Jr. collection)

At Cleveland, OH. Mid 1950's.
(Photo by Fred Bultman IV from the Fred Bultman IV collection)

At Cleveland, OH. Mid 1950's.
(Photo by Fred Bultman IV from the Fred Bultman IV collection)

Postcard view upbound at Mission Point.
(From the Paul C. LaMarre III collection)

     
Sylvania 1954 - 1971
(The Tomlinson Fleet Corp.)

At Cleveland, OH. Early 1960's.
(Photo by Fred Bultman IV from the Fred Bultman IV collection)

Departing Cleveland, OH. Early 1960's.
(Photo by Fred Bultman IV from the Fred Bultman IV collection)

In the Detroit River early 1960's.
(Photo by Fred Bultman IV from the Fred Bultman IV collection)

In the Welland Canal. 1964..
(From the Terry McCullough collection)

Stern view underway in Tomlinson Fleet colors 1965.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Upbound at Port Huron.
(Photo by Paul Michaels)

Sunk at the Peerless Cement Dock in Port Huron, June 1967. New
(Skip Gillham collection)


Story & Photo Collection

Sylvania and Renvoyle Collision at Port Huron on June 1, 1967

Sylvania 1971 - 1983
(Columbia Transportation)

At Detroit August 1973.
(Photo by Terry McCullough)

Downbound at Port Huron.
(From the Terry McCullough collection)

Under assistance by a G-tug in the 1970's.
(Photo by Rudi Rabe)

Being towed down the Trenton Channel by the tug America 1976.
(Photo by Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

Bow of Sylvania as seen from a G-tug in the Trenton Channel.
(Photo by Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

Unloading coal in 1977.
(Photo by Rudi Rabe)

Downbound at Port Huron.
(Photo by Paul Michaels)

Arriving at dock to load.
(Photo by Paul Michaels)

Loading coal at Toledo, OH.
(Photo by Paul Michaels)

Underway in 1974.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Blowing the whistle.
(Photo by Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

(Photo by Gene Onchulenko courtesy of MHSD)

At Cleveland, OH 1977.
(Photo by Fred Bultman V)

Inbound Maumee Bay Toledo, OH 1978.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

Backing away from C&O Coal Docks Toledo, OH, 1978.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

Loading coal at C&O #3 Dock. The bumboat Deweys is alongside. Toledo, OH. Late 1970's.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

Downbound Maumee River from the Cherry Street Bridge, Toledo, OH. Late 1970's.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

In layup at the Hocking Valley Dock, Toledo, OH.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

Approaching C&O Coal Docks, Toledo, OH. Late 1970's.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

Outbound from Maumee Bay, Toledo, OH. Late 1970's.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

Inbound Maumee Bay Toledo, OH bound for the C&O Coal Docks at Toledo, OH.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

Underway, July 15, 1979. New
(Photo by Don Dube, Skip Gillham collection)

Waiting to load at C&O Toledo, OH. September 1, 1979.
(Photo by Jeff Mast)

Loading coal at C&O Toledo, OH.  September 1, 1979.
(Photo by Jeff Mast)

Unloading at port Huron, MI.
(photo by Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

Loading coal at Toledo, OH December 1979.
(Photo by Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

Loading coal at Toledo, OH 1980.
(Photo by Bob Vincent)

Stern view loading coal at Toledo, OH 1980.
(Photo by Bob Vincent)

Layup Frog Pond Toledo, OH March 14, 1981 with J.R. Sensibar and McKee Sons.
(Photo by Jeff Mast)

Tied up at Triad Salvage in Ashtabula, November 1983. New
(Photo by Rev. William Offutt, Skip Gillham collection)

Back of the pilothouse from the unloading rig. New
(Paul Wiening collection)

Looking down the deck from the unloading rig. New
(Paul Wiening collection)

Aft cabins and stack. New
(Paul Wiening collection)

Dining room. New
(Paul Wiening collection)

Galley. New
(Paul Wiening collection)

Equipment in the engineroom. New
(Paul Wiening collection)

Another of the engineroom. New
(Paul Wiening collection)

Scrapping underway, February 4, 1984. New
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Not much of stern left, February 4, 1984. New
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Sylvania trip summaries.
(Compiled by Skip Gillham)


Collection of artwork of the Sylvania
By Paul C. LaMarre Jr.
     

 

"Steaming Through Time... Steamer Sylvania"
Article from the July - August 1980 issue of 'Telescope' by Paul C. LaMarre Jr.
(Courtesy of Paul C. LaMarre III)
   

 

Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper article about the scrapping of the Sylvania published June 17, 1984
(From the Paul C. LaMarre III collection)

 

Audio of the ship
Click on the tape to listen.

Sylvania reporting that she is at anchor with Port Huron Coast Guard advising them of downbound traffic. July 22, 1972
(Provided by Roger LeLievre)

Port Huron Coast Guard releasing the Sylvania from their anchorage. July 22, 1972
(Provided by Roger LeLievre)

Port Huron Coast Guard coordinating the Sylvania where to meet the Imperial Sarnia. July 22, 1972
(Provided by Roger LeLievre)

 

 

Masters and Chief Engineers of the Sylvania
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
John W. Ehrhart 1905 - 06
Charles C. Tousley 1907
Elmer W. Craine 1908
Unknown 1909
William T. Landon 1910
Unknown 1911
William Stevenson 1912 - 13
T. H. Welsh 1905
M. J. McAuliffe 1906 - 07
Mason P. “Peter” Slater 1908
Victor M. Jarrett 1910
Unknown 1911
Charles F. Dowd 1912
Mason P. “Peter” Slater 1913
Masters and Chief Engineers of the D. M. Philbin
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
George A. Warwick 1914
Arnold M. Morse 1915 - 20
Oscar A. Johnson 1921
Unknown 1922
John E. “Jack” Drury 1923
J. C. Cushing 1924
Andrew R. MacLeod 1925 - 27
C. R. Baker 1929
Frank Thomas 1914
Louis Vanderberg 1915
Thomas F. Birch 1917
Thomas F. Bouchard 1918 - 21
Unknown 1922
John L. Dalziel 1923 - 25
S. K. Kissack 1926 - 29
Masters and Chief Engineers of the Sylvania
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
Unknown 1930 - 36
Charles J. Autterson 1937
William H. Hill 1942
Edward H. Cahours 1943 - 45
Elmer B. Wolvin 1946 - 50
Howard C. Beck 1951 - 52
Harold B. Viksjo 1953 - 54
Chester U. Danielson 1956
Dewey R. Powell 1957
Harold B. Viksjo 1958
Unknown 1959
Burris W. Wolters 1960 - 67
Robert Bourne 1968
Burris W. Wolters 1969 - 70
Unknown 1971 - 72
Gerald E. Jost 1973
Gordon B. Conklin 1974
Orval J. Broman 1975
Armand R. Johnson 1976 - 77
Edgar Wood 1978
James R. Brown 1979
Robert L. Scott 1980
Unknown 1930 - 36
Thomas E. Bouchard 1937
Unknown 1938 - 41
Thomas E. Bouchard 1942
Arthur M. Olson 1943
Rutherford B. Fegert 1944 - 46
Michael F. Desmond 1947 - 57
Robert J. Mckinley 1958
Unknown 1959
Robert J. Mckinley 1960
Unknown 1961
Peter Arbacheuskas 1962 - 66
Michael Charles 1967 - 68
William McKinley 1969
Francis B. Lamen 1970
K. Fjeldstad 1971 - 72
James Patnode 1973 - 74
Arthur E. Urdal 1975
Virgil F. Furtaw 1976
Robert Sawin 1977
William Roberts 1978
Unknown 1979
B. Schuh 1980

 


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Last updated: April 18, 2013.

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