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Mason County Memories

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History Columns are arranged by year of publication in the Ludington Daily News

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Carferries History Column Dave Petersen These photographs are from a series of pictures taken by Erhardt Peters in the early 1930's during a time that many of the older ships were laid up. Its an interesting series as it shows some views that were seldom seen up close and most certainly not available to the general public. The captions for these photographs were provided by Art Chavez. I am still looking for photographs of the interiors of carferry engine rooms, for a future column on engine room crews. PIC #1 Moored near the Pere Marquette fleet marine repair shops at Ludington's #2-1/2 slip, four PM ferries lie in lay-up with their sea gates raised. This permitted ease of access for repair crews. PIC #2 During the years of the Great Depression, most of the older, slower and smaller Pere Marquette car ferries were placed in mothballs. This scene is from that era and shows from left to right, Pere Marquette 15, Pere Marquette 20 and Pere Marquette 19, laid-up in Ludington's #2-1/2 slip. These ships briefly returned to service as reserve boats while the newer and faster ships went down for maintenance and repair. They were sold by the railroad in the mid to late 1930s. Pic#3 255 Photographed from the port upper bridgewing of the Pere Marquette 18(II), this scene provides a broad view of the Pere Marquette car ferry terminal. Immediately in the front center of the photo is #3 slip and just beyond it in #2-1/2 slip are several ferries in lay-up. Above the ships can be seen the grain elevator and to the left in the distance, the City of Saginaw 31 loading in #2 slip. Pic#4 503 The smokestacks of the Pere Marquettes 15, 19 and 20 are seen in this view during the years the ferries were laid-up in the 1930's. After the fast turbo-electric ferries arrived, compounded by the Great Depression, most of the first-generation Robert Logan-designed car ferries were mothballed due to lack of freight. Pic#5 526 This excellent detail view looks across the bow of laid-up Pere Marquette 19 toward her sisterships Pere Marquettes 20 and 15. 251 Pic#6 The arrival of the 20-mph turbo-electric powered City of Saginaw 31 and City of Flint 32 in 1930 and the earlier introduction of the 14-mph Pere Marquette 21 and 22 in 1924 rendered the older ships obsolete. The slower 12-mph ferries designed by Robert Logan, some of which are seen here, were more frequently placed in lay-up status and were used mainly when railroad freight backed-up on shore during the winter months. If you have any stories or photos you would like to share with our readers please feel free to contact me at 757-3240 or davep@blackcreekpress.com, mail should be sent in care of the Ludington Daily News PO box 340 Ludington Mi 49431.

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