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Louis W. Hill 1917 - 1955
Valley Camp (2) 1955 - Today

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Built by American Ship Building Co., Lorain, Ohio as Hull #721. Launched on July 14, 1917 as the LOUIS W. HILL for Producers Steamship Co., Cleveland, OH and managed by M. A. Hanna & Co. Dimensions: 550' 00" loa x 58' 00" beam x 31' 01" depth; 7,038 GRT, 5,648 NRT. Powered by a 1,900 ihp triple expansion steam engine and two coal-fired Scotch boilers. Entered service in August 1917.

Broke from her winter moorings Buffalo, NY and blown ashore on December 21, 1921. Pulled free on January 5, 1922.

Transferred to the National Steel Corp., Cleveland in 1936 and M. A. Hanna & Co. continued to manage the ship. While downbound in late 1941 under the command of Capt. Ross Maitland, the Hill was nearing Lake Superior's Michipicoten Island when the Canadian steamer Fort Willdoc was spotted drifting toward shore with a disabled propellor and rudder. Maitland headed to the rescue but was hampered by wind and waves. He tried sending a towline across in a five-gallon milk pail and, later, tied to a lifeboat, but neither method worked. Finally the steamer Willis L. King arrived on the scene. With the King's hull acting as a windbreak, Maitland was able to attach a line to the Fort Willdoc, towing her out of danger.

In 1955, she was traded with the ALBERT E. HEEKIN to Wilson Transit Co. for the BEN MORREEL. The LOUIS W. HILL was renamed VALLEY CAMP in March 1955. On June 18, 1955, the ship played an important part in the Soo Locks centennial celebration. When she moved into the Davis Lock at 11 a.m. on that day, she became the first boat to use the Soo Locks in their second century of service.

Both ships were sold in 1957 to Republic Steel Corp. and were used mainly to supply iron ore to Republic Steel in Cleveland. The VALLEY CAMP last operated in 1966 and was laid up in Duluth. During her career the 11,500 ton ship logged some 3 million miles and carried in excess of 16 million tons of cargo.

In 1968, the VALLEY CAMP was sold to Le Sault de Sainte Marie Historical Sites, Inc. for $10,000 to become a museum ship in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. Towed from Duluth by the tug JOHN PURVES on July 1, 1968 and arrived at the old Kemp's Coal Dock in Sault Ste. Marie on July 3. The cargo holds were converted to 20,000 square feet of museum space. In 1972, the Valley Camp was turned and moved into the slip where she currently resides.

 

Louis W. Hill 1917 - 1936
(Producers Steamship Co.)

Early picture of the Louis W. Hill.
(Thomas Manse collection)

Carrying a deck load of cars across Lake Superior,
May 19, 1935.
(Roger LeLievre collection)

Upbound at Mission Pt.
(Roger LeLievre collection)

 
Louis W. Hill 1936 - 1955
(National Steel Corp.)

Loading coal in Huron, Ohio, 1940's.
(Roger LeLievre collection)

Close up of the stern while in Huron, 1940's.
(Roger LeLievre collection)

Unloading at the Hanna Dock in Superior, 1943.
(Thomas Manse collection)

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu, 1947.
(Roger LeLievre collection)

Upbound above the Soo Locks at the railroad bridge.
(Roger LeLievre collection)

Loaded and underway.
(Roger LeLievre collection)

   
Valley Camp (2) 1955 - 1957
(Wilson Marine Transit)

Downbound at Mission Pt. under Wilson colors, 1955.
(Skip Gillham & Terry McCullough collections)

A summary of trip for the 1955 season.
(Compiled by Skip Gillham & Mark Shumaker)

Valley Camp was the first boat to use the Soo Locks in their second century of service, June 18, 1955. Pictured are Jerry Campbell of the Soo Locks Reporting Room, Capt. Joseph McLean (with Native headdress) and the Valley Camp's Chief Engineer, William Morrow.
(Roger LeLievre collection)

Capt. McLean and Soo newspaper publisher George Osborn, June 18, 1955.
(Roger LeLievre collection)

Valley Camp (2) 1957 - 1968
(Republic Steel Corp.)

A picture from a shipping magazine, 1950's.
(Roger LeLievre collection)

Downbound at Mission Pt.
(Photo by Thomas Manse)

Upbound in the Keweenaw Waterway.
(Thomas Manse collection)

Downbound above the Blue Water Bridge.
(Photo by Paul Michaels)

Upbound below the Blue Water Bridge.
(Photo by Paul Michaels)

Her last season of operation, 1966.
(Thomas Manse collection)

Entering the MacArthur Lock downbound, Spring 1966.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

In the Keweenaw Waterway on her last downbound trip, November 26, 1966.
(Photo by Rudy Maki, Thomas Manse collection)

Laid up at Superior alongside fleetmate J. E. Upson, 1966-68.
(Thomas Manse collection)

Loaded and underway.
(Photo by Frank Slyker, John G. Mackay collection)

Loading at the Soo Line dock in Ashland.
(Chris Mazzella collection)

 
Valley Camp (2) 1968 - Today
(La Sault de Sainte Marie Historic Sites)

The telegram confirming bid offer for Valley Camp, April 1968.
(Roger LeLievre collection)

John Purvis & Valley Camp above the just above the Locks, July 3, 1968. New
(Matt Miner collection)

Departing the Davis Lock. The tug John Purves handled the tow, July 3, 1968.
(Thomas Manse collection)

Clearing the East Center Pier of the Soo Locks, July 3, 1968.
(Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Arriving at Sault Ste. Marie to begin her new career as a museum ship, July 3, 1968.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Local dignitaries boarded the vessel above the locks and rode her to the dock, July 3, 1968.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

In 1968 as part of Sault Ste. Marie's tri-centennial parade, a lifeboat from the Valley Camp was launched, placed on a flatbed, and pulled down Ashmun Street.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

The Joseph H. Thompson & Eskimo pass in the harbor, 1968.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Her first winter as a museum ship, 1969.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

A postcard view at the old Kemp Coal Dock.
(Skip Gillham collection)

A postcard view from the Tower of History with the D. G. Kerr passing the Canadoc.
(Don Geske collection)

A postcard view from the Tower of History.
(Raymond Bawal, Jr. collection)

A newspaper article about the Valley Camp's move into the her permanent slip, April 22, 1972.
(Thomas Manse collection)

A stern view of the tow with the John McLean handing the stern, April 22, 1972.
(Thomas Manse collection)

On deck looking aft during the tow, April 22, 1972.
(Thomas Manse collection)

A postcard view from the street.
(Don Geske collection)

A postcard view of the engine room.
(Don Geske collection)

A postcard view from the Tower of History with the John Sherwin passing. The salvage tug Favorite can be seen on the left.
(Don Geske collection)

One of the Fitzgerald's lifeboats being lifted to the deck of the Valley Camp. Thomas Manse is directing from the right,
January 14, 1976.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

An aerial view of the Valley Camp and Favorite, 1975.
(Roger LeLievre collection)

The inside of the museum ship pamphlet.
(Don Geske collection)

Back of the pamphlet.
(Don Geske collection)

Closed up for the winter, January 2, 1990.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Bow view, 1990's.
(Photo by Mike Nicholls)

Complimentary Pass from 1991.
(Don Geske collection)

Lit up with Christmas lights, December 2002.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

A postcard view from the Tower of History with the Yankcanuk at the Purvis Dock.
(Don Geske collection)

Cloudy day in the Soo, October 13, 2005.
(Photo by Mike Nicholls)

A postcard view.
(Don Geske collection)

Canada Day fireworks over the Valley Camp, July 1, 2007.
(Don Geske collection)

Stern view from a tour boat, June 28, 2008.
(Photo by Matt Miner)

Straight on, June 28, 2008.
(Photo by Matt Miner)

Sunset background of the stern, June 24, 2011.
(Photo by Matt Miner)

June 30, 2010.
(Photo by Matt Miner)

(Photo by Matt Miner)

(Photo by Matt Miner)

(Photo by Matt Miner)

Looking up the bow.
(Photo by Matt Miner)

(Photo by Matt Miner)

(Photo by Matt Miner)

Close up of stack.
(Photo by Matt Miner)

View of the rudder.
(Photo by Matt Miner)

Original name still on the railing stanchions. New
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

 

Painting her underway. New
(By Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

Painting of the tow. New
(By Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

   

 

Valley Camp (1) 1927 - 1966

Click on above picture for gallery.

 

Masters and Chief Engineers of the Louis W. Hill
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
George B. Brock 1917 - 20
George D. Tulian 1921 - 35
Samuel Sexsmith 1936 - 37
W. Ross Maitland 1937
J. M. Brines 1938
W. Ross Maitland 1938
Samuel Sexsmith 1938 - 39
Millard M. Stewart 1940
W. Ross Maitland 1941
Norval F. Peltier 1942 - 43
Walter E. Himmelroos 1944
Norval F. Peltier 1944 - 51
Roland H. Brown 1952
Carleton W. Young 1953 - 54
Unknown 19
Alexander M. Robertson 1917 - 31
Unknown 1932 - 33
Alexander M. Robertson 1934 - 36
Unknown 1937 - 38
A. C. Barnes 1938
Unknown 19
Alexander M. Robertson 1938 - 39
Frank J. Autterson 1940
Ray M. Akerley 1941 - 1946
Walter R. Johnson 1947 - 50
Alfred L. Spragge 1951 - 54
Masters and Chief Engineers of the Valley Camp (2)
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
Joseph McLean 1955 - 56
Eugene O. Peo 1957 - 63
Gerard E. Bebeau 1954 - 66
William J. Morrow 1955
Charles B. Howey 1956
William R. Stewart 1957 - 60
Donald J. Hillinski 1961 - 66

 


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Last updated: May 31, 2014.

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