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Oops: 1905

Oops: 1905

Circa 1905. "Chicago Ship Building Co. Repairing a lake carrier after a collision." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


"Confused passing signals"

The SYLVANIA was christened and launched on March 18, 1905 for the Duluth Steamship Co. of Duluth, MN and entered service in April, 1905. The SYLVANIA was involved in a collision with the SIR HENRY BESSEMER on June 12, 1905 off of Whitefish Point on Lake Superior as a result of confused passing signals.

What we see is the result

of a mix-up in passing signals that occurred off a foggy Whitefish Point on Lake Superior during the early morning of June 13, 1905, between the Sylvania and the Sir Henry Bessemer. The Sylvania, loaded with ore, was approaching the Soo with the Bessemer light upbound. The Sylvania received $8,000 in damages. A subsequent admiralty case and its appeal found the masters of both vessels negligent. The Sylvania had entered service only two months before, having been launched at West Bay City, Michigan, on March 18; she returned to service in July. The yard is that of the Chicago Ship Building Company at 100th Street and the Calumet River at South Chicago, the plant that built the second Pere Marquette 18 in ninety days, previously discussed on this site.

She had an interesting life

Sunk in June 1967, The SYLVANIA returned to service on October 12, 1967. She sank at the Peerless Cement Co. Dock at Port Huron, Michigan in June of that year after being struck by the Canada Steamship Lines package freight steamer RENVOYLE.

she had a few more good years in her. On October 31, 1983, the SYLVANIA was towed out of the Frog Pond by the harbor tugs ARKANSAS and WYOMING. She was handed over to the tug OHIO for delivery to the Triad Salvage Co. at Ashtabula, Ohio arriving there on November 1st. Dismantling was completed there in 1984. Thus ended 78 years of service. Ironically the SYLVANIA, the first built of the 504 foot class bulkers, was the last survivor of that class. During her career with Columbia Transportation, the SYLVANIA had carried over 20 million tons and netted over $35 million.

There is a picture of her on the bottom at one of the great lakes web sites.

I love the Lakes and the ships which sail them.

This is one way to get to see the innards of a Great Lakes steamship. Another, less destructive way is to visit the Valley Camp museum ship at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The Valley Camp is a rare example of a typical freighter of the sort which plied the Great Lakes (such as the one in the picture above) starting in the early 20th Century. Valley Camp entered service in 1917 and sailed until the late 1960s. Great Lakes freighters are things of beauty.

Pardon me, sir, your capstan is showing.

Wow, one of those ship cutaway illustrations, in real life!

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