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Featured Lake Boat:

Thomas F. Cole 1907 - 1980

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Built by Great Lakes Engineering Works, Ecorse, MI as hull 27. Launched on January 26, 1907 as THOMAS F. COLE for Pittsburgh Steamship Co. Dimensions: 605' 6" loa x 58' 2" beam x 32' 00" depth; 7,268 GRT, 5,484 NRT. Powered by a 1,880 ihp triple expansion steam engine built in 1907 by the shipyard and had a service speed of 10 knots. Entered service on May 26, 1907 departing Ecorse for Two Harbors. She arrived on May 29th for her first load of ore.

On August 24, 1910 she ran aground on a shoal in the St. Marys River severely damaging her hull plates. On May 13, 1913 the COLE collided with the barge IRON CITY on Lake St. Clair cutting the barge in two. The THOMAS F. COLE had new hopper side tanks installed in April, 1946. Tonnage change in 1946: 7,682 GRT, 6,454 NRT. The COLE was reboilered in 1947 with two coal-fired Babcock & Wilcox water tube boilers. Tonnage change in 1948: 7,700 GRT, 6,472 NRT, 12,370 DWT.

In 1952 the THOMAS F. COLE was transferred to the U.S. Steel Corp., Cleveland. A new tank top was installed in April, 1957. The COLE was in collision with the British motor vessel INVEREWE off the south end of Pipe Island on the lower St. Marys River in foggy conditions November 12, 1964. The COLE suffered severe damage to her port bow and was taken to Lorain, OH for repairs. In 1974 the COLE was laid up for the final time at Duluth/Superior.

The THOMAS F. COLE was sold for scrap to Western Metals Corp. of Thunder Bay in 1980. Arrived there from Duluth on July 31, 1980 in the tow of tugs DARYL C. HANNAH and MALCOLM.


Thomas F. Cole 1907 - 1952
(Pittsburgh Steamship Co.)

Bow view before launch, January 26, 1907.
(Detroit Publishing, Library of Congress collection)

Stern view.
(Detroit Publishing, Library of Congress collection)

One last view before the launch.
(Pittsburgh Sidelights Oct. 1955, Russ Plumb collection)

A swing of the christening bottle.
(Pittsburgh Sidelights Oct. 1955, Russ Plumb collection)

A closer view.
(Pittsburgh Sidelights Oct. 1955, Russ Plumb collection)

In the water a few minutes after the launch.
(Detroit Publishing, Library of Congress collection)

Postcard view of her first time arriving in Duluth.
(Don Geske collection)

Under way in the lake.
(Detroit Publishing, Library of Congress collection)

Passing an unknown lighthouse.
(Detroit Publishing, Library of Congress collection)

Linen postcard version. New
(Matt Miner collection)

Pouring on the coal.
(Detroit Publishing, Library of Congress collection)

Close up of the bow and lighthouse.
(Detroit Publishing, Library of Congress collection)

Transiting a river.
(Detroit Publishing, Library of Congress collection)

Upbound at the Soo Locks.
(Detroit Publishing, Library of Congress collection)

Upbound at Mission Pt. in the 1940's.
(Tom Manse collection)

Upbound clear of the Locks at the railroad bridge.
Unknown fleet mate behind her waiting for a lock.
(Tom Manse Collection)

A Lock Guard posing for a picture with the Cole upbound in the Davis Lock, 1950's.
Note the half track to the left of the guard.
(Tom Manse Collection)

Thomas F. Cole 1952 - 1980
(U.S. Steel Corp.)

Downbound at Mission Point, 1960's.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

Postcard view passing Pine Grove Park in Port Huron.
(Skip Gillham collection)

Clear of the Locks in Soo Harbor downbound early in the season, April 16, 1964.
(Photo by Pete Worden, Skip Gillham collection)

Tied up at the Carbide Dock in the Soo after the collision, November 13, 1964.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

A view of the bow damage.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

Close up of the damage.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

Inverewe downbound at Mission Pt. in the 1960's
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Closer view.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Tied up in Lorain awaiting repairs, December 1964.
(Photo from Russ Plumb & John Vournakis)

Close up of the damage.
(Photo by Russ Plumb)

Stern view in ballast, July 5, 1969.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Downbound off 6 Mile Pt., June 12, 1971
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Loading in Duluth with a bum boat alongside, 1973.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Downbound in the St. Marys River, August 1974.
(Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Underway in ballast.
(Skip Gillham collection)

Downbound at Port Huron above the Blue Water Bridge.
(Photo by Paul Michaels, Skip Gillham collection)

An L. L. Cook Co. postcard view entering the MacArthur Lock.
(Roger LeLievre collection)

Tied up alongside the Eugene J. Buffington in Duluth, July 10, 1979.
(Marc Vander Meulen collection)

The tug Malcolm has arrived to tow the Buffington down the Lakes for scrap.
(Photo by Albert Schelling, Skip Gillham collection)

Daryl C. Hannah ready to tow the Cole from Duluth to Thunder Bay, July 1980.
(Photo by Albert Schelling, Skip Gillham collection)


Log Summaries
(Courtesy of Skip Gillham)






Masters and Chief Engineers of the Thomas F. Cole
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
James W. Morgan 1907 - 13
Myron K. Chamberlain 1914 - 16
John R. Noble 1917 - 18
George Randolph 1919 - 20
W. E. Stover 1921 - 26
H. D. Roach 1926
George M. Ackley 1927 - 28
Ed K. Male 1927 - 28
John McDonald 1931
laid up 1932 - 33
John McDonald 1934 - 35
Roy C. Caughell 1936 - 37
unknown 1938
William M. Ward 1939
Robert W. Parsons 1940
Don E. Manuel 1941
W. H. MacBeth 1942 - 43
William H. Paver 1944
G. A. Lehne 1945
Frank F. Wilcox 1946 - 47
Clarence E. Gerlach 1948
James E. Diamond 1949
Seldon M. Nelson 1950
Laurence D. Bouille 1951
Gustave J. Olsen 1952
Edgar C. Tanner 1953
Martin Olsen 1954
Rea W. Star 1955 - 56
Joseph N. Gareau 1957 - 58
H. L. Kemp 1959 - 60
laid up 1961 - 63
George R. Luly 1964 - 65
Joe P. Burke 1965
Richard J. McPhillips 1965
Frank T. Dunn 1966
E. Hugh Finnigan 1966
Roman Ulfig 1967
John P. Perkins 1968
Raymond J. Ziegman Jr. 1969
Perry S. Klumph 1970 - 71
William A. White 1972
Norman T. Nelson 1973
Gordon A. Montgomery 1974
unknown 1907
H. T. McLeod 1908
unknown 1909
H. T. McLeod 1910 - 15
unknown 1916
H. T. McLeod 1917
Charles S. McIntyre 1918 - 20
Leland Haggan 1921 - 29
John T. Schci 1930 - 13
laid up 1932 - 33
John T. Schci 1934
P. F. McDonnell 1935 - 37
Walter F. Parker 1937
unknown 1938
Walter F. Parker 1939
Albert A. Lyman 1940 - 41
Ole J. Berger 1942 - 44
John M. Mikell 1945 - 46
Sven Stolsen 1947 - 50
Robert F. Benjamin 1951 - 52
Frank J. Selee 1953 - 54
D. Coleman Keefe 1955
Richard L. Murdock 1956 - 57
Kermit Anderson 1958
Stanley S. Richmond 1959
Robert J. Ruetger 1960
laid up 1961 - 63
George H. Bruck 1964
Edwin L. Fralic 1965
John R. Decator 1966
LaVerne L. McKinley 1967
Howard L. Farrell 1968
Lyman S. Ball 1969
Raymond J. Sobiech 1970 - 71
Melvin R. Hinton 1972 - 73
Raymond P. Eckert 1974


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Last updated: April 8, 2013.

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