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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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Leviathan: 1905

Leviathan: 1905

Ecorse, Michigan, 1905. "S.S. William G. Mather, stern view before launch." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Watch out for that first step!

I'd close that hatch, but then again, I'm all about safety.

Lots of steel close by

In all my 40+ years of living in Detroit, I never knew that they ever built ships like this in Ecorse (downriver). I guess it helps explain why Great Lakes Steel and McLouth Steel were just a few miles away. I'd always thought their steel was primarily for the automotive industry, although it had always looked like the steel plants were much larger than they needed to be. Does anybody know just how long shipbuilding of this size continued in Ecorse?

[Great Lakes Engineering Works, also known as GLEW, was in business from 1902 to 1960. Photos here and here on Shorpy. - Dave]


I wonder how they determined the exact number of poles needed to hold that beast up. They look a little spindly to my lubber eyes.

S.S. William G. Mather 1905-1996

This bulk carrier had four names over the course of its long life.

Launched October 1905 as the William G. Mather. Named after the owner of the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company.
1925: Renamed J.H. Sheadle when the second William G. Mather (currently a floating museum) was launched.
1955: Renamed H.L. Gobeille.
1965: Renamed Nicolet.
1996: Scrapped in Port Maitland, Ontario.

William G. Mather

This ship is still around and on display in Cleveland behind the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

[Same name, but not the same ship. - Dave]

Not the 1925 version?

This appears to be a different "William G. Mather" than the one all over Google:

The one here and Google image results of the stern of the 1925-built one have some significant differences. Yet both were built in Ecorse, Michigan, and I find no other reference to more than one "William G. Mather" in ship form.

Can anyone shed some light on this?

[Google and ye shall find. - Dave]

Long gestation

I believe the William G Mather was "born" in 1925.

[Not the same boat. - Dave]

Size matters

Wow. Difficult to even imagine standing beside something that huge. Must have been a little scary for the men who were dwarfed by this massive thing they'd helped to build ... or perhaps would help to crew.

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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