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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

At Seventeen: 1901

At Seventeen: 1901

Circa 1901. "Pere Marquette transfer boat 17." These steamers were operated on various Great Lakes waterways by the Pere Marquette railroad. View full size.

 

Janis Ian

Caught the reference. She still sings well.

Personal History

At least one of the Pere Marquette ships was operating into the '60s I rode it from Milwaukee to Ludington in the summer of 1960. I know it was operating as a car ferry; I don't know if it was still carrying railcars at the time.

On the way to work

If this is 1901, and Detroit, then the Pere Marquette 17 is likely under way from its builder. American Ship Building in Cleveland, OH to begin service on Michigan-Wisconsin car ferry routes on Lake Michigan for the PM Rly.

This just in

From the Stevens Point Daily Journal Wisconsin 1910-09-10:
In marine circles it is believed that the string of twenty-eight cars became loose as the ferry was buffeted about and that the water rolled into the vessel's stern, which is wide open. This seems plausible in view of the fact that the sea was rolling from the north, the most dangerous on Lake Michigan, while the steamer was heading southwest by south.

The ill-fated car ferry, which has contributed the first fall disaster on the lakes this year, was built in Cleveland twelve years ago at a cost of $450,000.[Note: That's about $11.8 million today.] It was fully insured, as were the cars and contents.

The catastrophe occurred approximately thirty miles off from Port Washington. No. 17, bound from Milwaukee for Ludington, reached the wreck just as the No. 18 sunk out of sight. Several miles away a lone boat was floundering in the surge and swell of the waves, and on all sides were the shrieks and screams of the poor wretches soaked through and through with the almost ice-cold water and gripped by the strong winds. Only a few had time to dress.

The Pere Marquette No. 20, out from Ludington bound for Milwaukee and manned by a crew most of whom come from the same city as those on the sunken vessel, was the third craft to reach there. Just prior to its arrival the fishing tug Tesler out from Port Washington, had picked up six dead, among them Capt. Kilty, which were transferred to the No. 17 and taken back to Ludington.

More here.

Always a connection

Yes, I think I see the Michigan Central in the background.

Location?

Could be Detroit? Looks like one of the Michigan Central RR Ferrys in the background.

Heroic Number 17

Wow:

On September 10, 1910, Pere Marquette 18 was bound for Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from Ludington, Michigan, with a load of 29 railroad freight cars and sixty two persons aboard. Near midnight, the vessel began to take on massive amounts of water. The captain dumped nine railroad cars into Lake Michigan, but there was no use—the ship was going down. The Pere Marquette 17, traveling nearby, picked up the distress call and sped to assist the foundering vessel. Soon after they arrived, and before the Pere Marquette 17 could come alongside, the Pere Marquette 18 plunged to the bottom of Lake Michigan with the loss of 28 lives; there were 33 survivors.

From Wikipedia.

 
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