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Mason County Memories


"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus" ~ Mark Twain


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



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Great Lakes Ships History Column Dave Petersen Today we will continue taking a look at some of the ships built by the American Shipbuilding Company at their plants located throughout the Great Lakes region. Prior to the completion of highways and with the advancement in trucking and cheap fuel people and products were moved in bulk on the Great Lakes. One has to wonder as fuel prices increase if there won't be changes again in how we move products and travel to spend our leisure time. If you have any photographs or stories to share with our readers please feel free to call Dave Petersen 757-3240 email davep@blackcreekpress.com or mail in care of the Ludington Daily News. 1 Steamer Columbia Built in 1902 by the American Shipbuilding Companies plant Detroit Ship building and designed by Frank Kirby The Steamer Columbia enjoyed some 81 years of service as an excursion steamer . At a mere 216 feet long but with 3 decks this ship could ferry 3000 people at one time to Bob Lo island. This exceptional ship has survived and there are efforts to restore the ship and return it to service in New York on the Hudson River. 2 Steamer North West This ship was built for passenger service only for the run from Duluth Minnesota to Buffalo New York. Another of the Palatial Steamers that provided luxurious travel accommodations for passengers 3-Steamer Nasookin This ship was built in 1913 for the Canadian pacific Railroad for service on Lake Kootenay in British Columbia. What is interesting is that it was erected at the shipyard, taken apart and then shipped by rail to Lake Kootenay where it was erected and launched. The passenger and freight ship was 227 feet in length and driven by a paddle wheel, she could achieve a speed of 20 miles per hour. Nasookin is a Kootenay Indian word that means The Supreme Chief. This ship is now high and dry having been restored as a private home. 4-Steamer Noronic Another ship built for Canadian trade the Noronic was 385 feet in length and owned by the Canada Steamship Lines. Tragedy struck this ship as she caught on fire and was destroyed on September 17th 1949 with the loss of 119 passengers. 5 Pere Marquette 17 One of our local carferries the PM 17 was built in 1901, she had the distinction of responding to the distress call of the ill fated Pere Marquette 18 on September 9th 1910 where she was able to assist in the rescue of passengers. 28 lives were lost including all of the officers.. The 17 was eventually sold in 1941 to the State of Michigan where she was refitted for service at the straights of Mackinaw. The ship was painted white and renamed the City of Petoskey. 6 Marquette & Bessemer No. 1 This ship was a bulk freight ship and used primarily for hauling coal, the railroad cars would run onto the deck of the ship and the coal was dumped directly from the car into the hold of the ship. Because of the position of her twin smokestack the ship was nicknamed the Grasshopper.

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