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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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Ann Arbor Carferries History Column Dave Petersen Last week we started to explore the Ann Arbor fleet of carferries and we will continue that in today's column to finish up some of the ships histories. The AA #4 as we discussed last week was the voodoo ship of the Ann Arbor fleet because of the number of mishaps that occurred. Built in 1906 she none the less served 67 years on the lakes in various capacities. The first 31 years was spent as a Ann Arbor Ferry and in 1937 she was sold to the State of Michigan and converted for use at the Straits of Mackinac as the new "City of Cheboygan". She was sold in 1960 after the bridge was completed, renamed the Edward H Anderson and this once proud ship was then used for storage for potatoes from 1960 to 1973. The AA No. 5 also known as the Bull of the woods was mentioned in the column last week but the dry dock picture shown was mis-identified as the No 5 and was instead the No. 6 which was the Arthur K Atkinson. The No. 5 was built in 1910 by the Toledo Shipbuilding Company in Toledo Ohio. This ship served the railroad from 1910 to 1966 where she was finally sold and over the next four years was registered to 4 different owners before being sold for scrap in 1970. The AA No 6 was built in 1917 as the Maitland No 2 in Ecorse Michigan by the Great Lakes Engineering Works for Hamilton Toronto and Buffalo Railroad Company but was purchased by the Ann Arbor Railroad that same year. She was 338 feet in length and 56 feet in width and served the Ann Arbor Railroad until 1984. She was renamed the Arthur K Atkinson in 1959 in honor of the Pesident of the Company's parent firm. Many local people remember seeing this ship docked here in Ludington for a time before it was moved to Detour Michigan where the ship remains today awaiting a decision on her final fate. The City of Milwaukee was built for and served the Grand Trunk Railroad from 1931 to 1978. It was purchased by the Ann Arbor Railroad with the intention of using her as a replacement for the Atkinson which was laid up. This was a short term arrangement and the Milwaukee was again mothballed in 1980. Ferry operation was finally ended in Elberta/Frankfort in 1982. Ludington suffered similar difficulties and the potential ending of carferry operations. We were fortunate that local businessmen were able to come together to save our carferry operations and continue the maritime traditions of Ludington. If you have any stories or photographs to share with our readers please feel free to contact me at 757-3240, davep@blackcreekpress.com or mail care of the Ludington Daily News at PO Box 340 Ludington Mi 49431. Pic1 Wabash Another great view of the Wabash, this ship was renamed the City of Green Bay and after being removed from the registry was sold for scrap in 1974. Pic2 AA #1 The Ann Arbor #1 a wooden hulled ship was built n Toledo Ohio at the Craig Shipbuilding Company in 1892, she was 260 feet in length and 53 feet wide. She spent her whole career on the lakes as a carferry for the Ann Arbor railroad finally meeting her end on March 7th 1910 when she caught on fire and burned in Manitowoc Wisconsin. The burned out hull was sold to Love Construction in Muskegon and it was used as a sand scow for an undetermined number of years after the fire. Pic3 AA#2 The AA #2 was also built in 1892 by the Craig shipbuilding Company in Toledo Ohio and she served the railroad from 1892 to 1914 when she was sold to the Manistee Iron Works. At that time she was reduced to a barge and renamed the "Whale" . The Whale served 3 owners including United fuel and Supply Company and William Nicholson when she was taken off from the registry in 1927. Pic4 The Pere Marquette 20 and the Ann Arbor #3 laying over at Manitowoc due to bad weather. The AA#3 was built by Globe Iron works in 1898 in Cleveland Ohio as a steel hulled carferry 258 feet in length and 52 feet in width. She had a lengthy service for the railroad and served in that capacity from 1898 to 1962. She was then sold to Bultema Dock and Dredge Company where she was reducedt o a carferry barge and in 1965 renamed the "Manistee". The Manistee was removed from the registry in 1972. Pic5 The AA #7 The AA No. 7 was built in 1925 in Manitowoc by the Manitowoc shipbuilding Company. She was 347.75 feet in length and 56.16 feet in width. The No. 7 served the railroad from 1925 to 1975 and was renamed the Viking in 1965. This is one of the six ships built to the same design which included the City of Milwaukee currently moored in Manistee Michigan, the Grand Rapids, Madison and the Pere Marquette 21 and 22.

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