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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 224 Dave Petersen These next six views are from the collection of Jim Fay and show some of the ships that frequented the Manistee Harbor and channel. Manistee shared many of the same types of industries and shipping as we did in Ludington. Manistee also was the winter layup for many ships as well such as the lightships which served this side of the lake. You'll note that these ships were all built in the Great Lakes region. Manistee and even Ludington were the homes to shipbuilding industry as well as Detroit, Toledo, South Haven and many other places. I'm sure that as the auto industry began to flourish and the shipbuilding industry declined that many wondered what would happen to their livelihood and trade. When you look at our history it seems that whenever one industry declined another rose up to take their place. 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 The Steamer Illinois was a regular in Manistee as much as it was in Ludington as she traveled up and down the shoreline with freight passengers and mail. Built in 1899 by the Chicago Ship Building Company she served for 48 years until she was scrapped in 1947. Tragically she caught on fire while being dismantled and 5 firemen were asphyxiated and nine others hospitalized Pic 2 The Theodore Roosevelt is shown here in the Manistee Channel. She was built in 1906 by the Toledo Shipbuilding Company and at the time that this photograph was taken was owned by the Indiana Transportation Company. At the time of the launching in 1906 she was believed to be the fastest steamer on the Great Lakes. In 1918 she was purchased by the Navy and used as a troopship during WWI. Pic 3 Originally built by John Martel in South Haven Michigan in 1888 and was named the H.W. Williams after the owner of the steamship lines. One of the mishaps that involved the ship involved a wheelsman who fell asleep at his post. The Williams went in the wrong direction for several hours during the night until it was discovered that she was heading northeast instead of southwest. When the ship did not make the Chicago port at the allotted time rescue ships were sent out in search of her. The ship operated unde the names of the Pere Marquette 8 and the Tennesee. Pic 4 The Pere Marquette 4 is shown here at Manistee. She was originally built by the Detroit Drydock Company in 1888 for the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad for use as a break bulk ship in their operations out of Ludington. The PM 4 was purchased by Gus Kitzinger in 1901 for the Pere Marquette Line of carferries and she served until 1924 when she was towed to Chicago for use as a clubhouse. Pic 5 The Glen shown here dates the photograph between 1930 and 1938. Built by the Detroit Drydock Company in 1895 and originally named the Argo for the Argo steamship company. The steam barge was a familiar sight in Manistee until 1938 when she was dismantled. Pic 6 The Champlain started out in Cleveland Ohio in 1870 as a steam barge and was rebuilt in 1888 after a fire which left 22 dead. At the time of her rebuild she was renamed the City of Charlevoix under which name she operated until 1904. She was renamed again as the SS Kansas and she served on the Great Lakes as a mail ship until 1924 when she burned to a total loss while laid up at Manistee.

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