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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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Shipwrecks History Column 240 Dave Petersen It doesn't seem to matter what we are driving, flying, sailing or whatever. Man, Machine, Murphy's Law and Nature often collide and the results can be disasterous. This week we'll take a look at some maritime disasters and storms. Speaking of storms I had a chance to look over the newest Michigan History Magazine with Paul Peterson's article on the Armistice Day Storm of 1940. It's a good read and it features several photographs taken by local photographer Harold Holmes. The Armistice Day storm is getting a lot of attention this year it seems. The Leelanau Museum has a display that opened on June 25th that features the storm, I loaned several images from Holmes for that effort and there is a newly released book out this spring by Tom Powers titled "In the grip of the whirlwind" that addresses the wide impact of this storm across the Midwest. Two Harold Holmes photos of the storm are featured in this book. Remember if you have any stories or photographs that you would like to share with our readers please feel free to call 231-757-3240, email davep@blackcreekpress.com or write in care of the Ludington Daily News Po Box 340 Ludington Mi. 49431. Pic 1 The Ann Arbor 1 burns at the dock on March 7th 1910 in Manitowoc Wisconsin. The remaining HUllwas sold afterwards and reduced to a sand scow. Originally built in 1892 by the Craig Shipbuilding Company this wooden hulled ship was 260 feet long. It was but 4 years later the first steel hulled carferry, the Pere Marquette was launched. Pic2 The William Rudolph was built in 1880 in Mt Clemens Michigan and served on the lakes for 33 years. It was not a storm that beached this boat and left it to the elements but man. The Randolph was beached intentionally in 1913 near Racine Wisconsin to help with protection against erosion. Pic3 Can you imagine sitting at the dinner table when the Captain of the Atikokan decided he wanted drive up service? This wasn't the first time this whaleback beached, the first time was in October of 1909 when a gale forced the ship onto a reef at Isle Royale in Lake Superior. The ship was repaired and put back into service both times. Pic4 The 1905 storm that the Umbria survived was one of "those" storms that people talk about and is in the same category as the Armistice day storm of 1940. It was a fairly new boat as it was built in 1904 by the American Shipbuilding Company. Close to 30 boats were lost or damaged and 36 seamen lost their lives as this quickly forming storm raged at up to 70 miles an hour. Pic5 Herman Schmock snapped this picture of the Marshall F Butters during the Black Friday Storm of 1916. The Butters was a boat that was commonly seen working out of the Ludington Harbor. Named after Marshall F Butters of the Butters sawmill in Buttersville. Herman was one of the last men off from the boat. He went down to his quarters to get a change of clothes, his favorite pipe and of course his camera. He snapped this picture just before they were rescued . Pic6 I would not have wanted to be on the car deck on the Ann Arbor 4 on this February day when the boat struck the pier and sank in 1923. This was not the first incident as the boat also rolled over in May of 1909 while loading cars filled with ore. The Ann Arbor 4 was built in 1906 and in 1937 was bought by the State of Michigan and used as an auto ferry at Mackinac. After the Mackinac Bridge was completed the boat served as storage until being scrapped in 1973.

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