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Western Star: 1903

Western Star: 1903

October 3, 1903. Wyandotte, Michigan. "Launch of the Western Star." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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What a ride

It always amazes me how little room there is on the opposite side of the slip on side launches. The slip is just barely wider than the ship itself.


The movement captured in this photo is incredible; I am awed by the grandiose boat as it churns of a mass of water, particularly when compared to the tiny humans standing in front of it.

Initially I thought the boat was plowing into the folks standing on shore.

These days?

Can you imagine this happening these days:

- Kids on the deck?
- People lounging about "splashside"?
- People clambering on the roof?
- People at the front almost touching the rudder?

One thing that often strikes me when I see these old photos is how free these people were, compared to the amount of baby-sitting we all experience now. I'm sure a great many rules and regulations were put in place for our benefit, but I wonder sometimes if we've gone too far and abdicated all personal responsibility in favor of being told what to do at all times.

Oh Boy

Looks like the boys of 1903 have swarmed all the good viewing positions -- maybe allowed to admire the work of their shipbuilding fathers?

Heavy Metal

What an awesome looking boat for its time.


I would have liked to have been one of the kids on the stern of the ship as it went down the slipways. Imagine the ride that they got!

Launch seating

Man, I'd love to have had a front row seat for that.


This ship had a long life and many names throughout its career. It started out as a long bulk carrier at 416 feet, ran aground in Lake Huron in 1915 and sank, not to be salvaged until 1917, and rebuilt as the Glenisla. She was then lengthened to 508 feet in 1924, and entered the Canada Steamship Lines in 1926, with the final name of Prescott, working in the grain trade. She was finally scrapped in November 1962 after failing an inspection.

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