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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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History Column 223 Dave Petersen This week we will take a look at some additional photographs from the collection of Jim Fay. A couple of years ago Jim had the good fortune to purchase the photographs taken by Frank Tavolacci during the years that he worked on the carferries. Frank took some excellent pictures of the carferries but he also focused on the human element and was able to catch many of his co-workers on the job in a normal workday. Finding a picture of a carferry sailing past the lighthouse is easy, our North Pier light is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the country. Finding photographs of the firemen shoveling coal, or of Homer Gillette in the engine room are not so easy to come by and they make any story about the carferries more interesting in my opinion. If you have any stories or photographs and you would like to share with our readers please feel free to contact me at 757-3240, davep@blackcreekpress.com or in Care of the Ludington Daily News PO Box 340 Ludington Michigan 49431 Pic 1 Frank Tavolacci is shown here at the wheel on the City of Midland on July 4th 1965 along with Clarence Baily. Frank took hundreds of photographs during his tenure on the boats and helped to preserve an important part of carferry history. Pic 2 Arnold Schmidt Engineer, Bob McWilliams and Homer Gillete 3rd engineer, are shown here in the engine room of the City of Midland. Pic 3 Built in 1929 by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company the City of Saginaw ended her career on the lake after a devastating fire at the docks in Manitowoc in July of 1971. She had been sent to Wisconsin to undergo an overhaul and caught fire. She was deemed a total loss and after sitting idle was scrapped in 1973. Pic 4 Taking public bathing to a new level, we see the bathtub that sailed across the lake. I'm hoping at some point to devote a full column to the historic crossing of Lake Michigan in a bathtub. Does anyone out there have first hand knowledge of this voyage? Pic 5 Another view of the City of Saginaw from the dock after the fire. The damage to the interior of the ship was so severe that it was economically unfeasible to repair her. Pic 6 Bart Mallion is shown here putting up jacks on a railcar in the City of Midland in order to keep the railcar from slipping to the side. You could not ride in your car while it was on the carferry as there was the potential for a railcar to come loose and fall over in rough weather. The City of Midland was also built by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company in 1940.

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