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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Topside: 1912

Topside: 1912

Circa 1912. "Steamer City of Detroit III, hurricane deck." Note the partly submerged wreck at left. The D-III was one of the largest sidewheelers on the Great Lakes. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

It is the Joseph C. Suit

Here is a snapshot taken from the deck of the City of Detroit III, just after the incident on 30 May 1912. The Suit had been rebuilt no fewer than four times during its life.

Joseph C. Suit?

Comparing the photographs, it is clear that the sunken vessel is not the same ship as the image posted in the comments. The bridge on the sunken ship is smaller, the funnel is in not in the same place (or level) the front mast is not the same, and there is a deck below the bridge on the sunken ship with openings (dark in image) that does not exist on the comments photograph. Also. the upper deck overhangs the lower deck.

[Boats change. Wooden pilot houses and decks get rebuilt; boilers, funnels and masts get replaced. No doubt the Suit went through a number of alterations -- the vessel was almost 30 years old when it wrecked. - Dave]

Sign me up Dave

Sign me up for the maiden voyage in the Shorpy time machine.

What a great time to be had walking on these decks and later walking the NYC streets of the early twentieth century.

Collision just happened?

So, based on DrDetroit's post, was this picture taken immediately after the collision? If so, wow!

The paint on the deck seems too worn for this picture to have been taken on its trial run, although maybe it got worn simply from being outfitted, etc., and was scheduled to receive another coat prior to the maiden voyage.

Mystery Wreck Solved

It is the steam screw Joseph C. Suit, built 1884, 318 gross tons. On May 30, 1912, the vessel collided with CITY OF DETROIT III, which was leaving the shipyard at foot of Orleans Street on sea trials on Windsor side of the Detroit River, and became a total loss. 11 persons on board; no lives lost. The vessel was later blown up to remove the wreck.

The City of Detroit III, designed by Frank E. Kirby, was the largest sidewheel steamer in the world:

Launched Oct. 7, 1911. 600 staterooms; speed of 23mph.
Trial run May 30, 1912. Collision with JOSEPH C. SUIT, sinking her on the Detroit River.
Maiden voyage June 26, 1912. Detroit to Buffalo.

Sources: Loss of American Vessels Reported during 1913; Merchant Vessel List of the United States, 1889.

Lifeboat numbers

Were they odd/port, even/starboard?

What a ship!! 477 staterooms, 21 parlors, and a cocktail lounge/wine cellar that cost nealry a quarter of her total. Compare that to flying economy on Southwest.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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