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Along the River: 1905

Circa 1905. "Along the river at Buffalo, New York. Steamers North Land and City of Erie." 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Circa 1905. "Along the river at Buffalo, New York. Steamers North Land and City of Erie." 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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An extinct business

Great Lakes passenger liners - gone and largely forgotten. The final blow may have been the tragic Noronic fire in Sept., 1949 that killed 118.

Small boat activities

I'm intrigued by the three small flat-bottomed boats visible in this shot, all with square ends and propelled coracle-fashion by one oar over the stern. I'm guessing they're all engaged, or hoping to engage, in the same activity, and it's probably for cash rather than fun. Any ideas?

Yacht-Like Lines

Another photo of the SS North Land tied up at Buffalo: 1905.

Ludington Daily News, September 30, 1995.

Early Great Lakes steamer was last word in elegance, until she almost went to war.

By James L. Cabot.

The 1895 season of navigation saw the debut of a new passenger steamer, the North Land. This vessel represented a standard of elegance that no longer exists.

The North Land was built by the Globe Iron Works at Cleveland, Ohio. A steel steamer of 4,244 gross tons, she measured 376 feet in length and a beam of 44 feet. As no freight was carried, the North Land was fitted with staterooms for 500 passengers.

Built by James J. Hill, the "Empire Builder," the North Land was operated by the Northern Steamship Company between Buffalo, N.Y., and Chicago, Ill. The steamer called at Cleveland, Ohio, Detroit, Mackinac Island, Harbor Springs, and Milwaukee, Wis.

With her yacht-like lines and vividly white hull and cabins, the North Land truly was a beautiful ship. The steamer had three stacks when she entered service in 1895. In 1902 she was remodeled with new boilers, two stacks and an extra deck forward. …

She last sailed in 1916; plans to operate the North Land in 1917 under lease to the Northern Michigan Transportation Company failed to materialize.

In 1918 the North Land was acquired by the Davie Shipbuilding & Repairing Co., Ltd., of Lauzon, Quebec. The steamer was cut in two at Buffalo, bulkheaded and towed through the Welland And St. Lawrence canals. At Montreal Quebec, the two sections of ship were reattached.

By the time the North Land reached Montreal, she was no longer needed for wartime service overseas. Plans to use the steamer as a troopship or a trans-Atlantic liner never materialized. The North Land lay idle at Montreal until she was scrapped in 1921, ending the career of a Great Lakes steamer that had once been considered the last word in elegance afloat.

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