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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 225 Dave Petersen We'll continue this week with some interesting views of some different ships that plied the waters of Lake Michigan in the last century. Some are rather small in size in comparison with our carferries and some of the other passenger and excursion ships but they none the less played important roles in the ports that they called home. Photographs are courtesy of James F. Fay. 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 Lakeland was a 280 foot long passenger and freight ship built in 1887 by Globe Iron Works in Cleveland. Originally named the Cambria she is noted for being the first ship on the Great lakes with a triple expansion engine. The ship foundered off Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin and sank in 220 feet of water in 1924 after springing a leak. Insurance fraud was suspected but never proven. There are some great photographs of the shipwreck online at NordicDiver.com Pic 2 The Lou A Cummings was an important link to the world for Charlevoix which depended heavily on shipping to maintain its ties to the world. The ship plied the waters of Pine Lake later known as Lake Charlevoix between Boyne City and Charlevoix. Originally built in 1883 but Duncan Robertson in Grand Haven she underwent name changes to City of Boyne, America, and Bay Port. She was ultimately abandoned in 1945. Pic 3 The North American was a sleek and modern passenger ship of its time. She was built in 1913 by the Great Lakes Engineering Works at Ecorse Michigan for the Chicago Duluth and Georgina Bay Transportation Company. Thousands of people enjoyed a relaxing week long cruise aboard the ship during the 51 years that she sailed the Great Lakes. The cruise covered about 2000 miles and made stops at ports throughout the Great Lakes including Mackinac Island. She was sold in 1967 and was intended to be used as a training ship but sunk in the Atlantic while being towed. The shipwreck was discovered in 2006. Pic 4 The Steamer United States is shown here entering the harbor at Saugatuck in 1912. This ship was built in 1909 for the Indiana Transportation Company to be used in the passenger trade. After a short run on the lakes he was rebuilt as a yacht for Colonel E. H. R. Green in 1917. Can you imagine a 280 foot yacht? She went through a succession of owners after 1923 and eventually scrapped in 1946. Pic 5 The Propeller Manistee made her debut in the Ludington Harbor on April 1st 1868 as reported in the Mason County Record "she came in with several colors flying and presented a beautiful and impressive sight" The Manistee joined the Messenger, Bertschey, and Barber, all boats of Engleman's Northern Steamship Line providing service to ports from Manistee, Ludington, Muskegon, Chicago, Milwaukee and more. In 1873 this ship was caught in an ice floe for 6 weeks and drifted between Grand haven and Lincoln. Pic 6 Beaver This real photo postcard taken by Beebe shows the Beaver off the dock near St. James Island. This ship was small in comparison to some of the others as she came in at 55 feet in length, less then a fifth of the size of the Lakeland. Built at Sault Ste Marie the Beaver was used as an auto ferry. She was rebuilt in 1944 to a scow and abandoned in 1948.

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