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The Fortune: 1905

The Fortune: 1905

Circa 1905. "St. Mary's Canal celebration -- excursion steamer Fortune in Weitzel Lock, Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan." 8x10 glass negative. View full size.


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50th Anniversary Celebration

This celebration was for the 50th anniversary of the first lock in the Soo opened in 1855. Even the Vice President of the United States was there along with a small flotilla of Navy ships . Note that safety and security were completely absent then. No fences or barriers to keep the kids out of the drink!


My guess on the "whatzit" is a fly whisk. Back then it may have been considered common to brush flies away with your hands.

Could it be?

A souvenir. A bent bamboo cane with a ribbon to commemorate the occasion.


There appears to be a bit of cloth folded umbrella-style on the end, so my guess is a small parasol with a long handle.

Steamship Fortune

The wooden hull steamship Fortune was launched in 1875 by the Detroit Dry Dock Company (hull number 29). Operated by the Algoma Central Railroad, at the time of the St. Mary's Canal celebration, she was captained by H.A. Pocock with F.W. Cornish serving as chief engineer. Sold in 1910, and later converted to a coastal tug rechristened as the Bawating. She sank February 1, 1920, off Jekyll Island, Georgia with 13 lives lost.


The lady, just to the right of center and standing next to the tree in the foreground, appears to be holding a stick-like something. A golf club? An apparatus for herding small children? A compact fishing pole? Two or three other "sticks" are wielded by other folks in this picture, one of note is the sitting young man in the foreground.

Weitzel Lock

Built in 1881, 515 feet long, 80 wide, 17 deep. Replaced by the MacArthur Lock in 1943 (800' x 80' x 30').


That's the year I want to visit!

My maternal grandfather, born in 1900, might have been the age of this young boy in the foreground. Clothing was beautiful, men all dapper and women dressed in their finest frilly apparel. Imagine how relaxing it was traveling by steamer compared to our stressful travel alternatives of today.

All we need is a Time Machine.

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