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Water Slide: 1900

Water Slide: 1900

Sept. 15, 1900. Wyandotte, Michigan. "Launch of freighter Howard L. Shaw." Thrilling prequel to this image. 8x10 inch glass negative. View full size.


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Background Lighthouse

The lighthouse and island hasn't been around for a long time. That is the Mamajuda Island Light and for decades has only been marked by a buoy.

Grassy Island Lighthouse

I wonder if that's the Grassy Island Lighthouse behind the Howard L. Shaw. The view might be correct - the question where was that original lighthouse? From Here it seems that the original island has been covered over with dredging material, so the shape is different.

This location on Google Maps seems to show the correct shape of a launching slip (or whatever it's called) pointing right at Grassy Island.

Pictures of a lifetime

The full history of the Howard L. Shaw here.


They're still launching them this way in the Great Lakes. From last October, here's a video of the launch of the USS Detroit (LCS-7) in Marinette, WI. Still lots of gawkers, but no one riding it down the ramp.

The first Bob-Lo boat.

Passing in the background is the boat/ferry that first took passengers to the Bob-Lo Island Amusement Park from downtown Detroit. Built by the Detroit and Windsor Ferry Company in 1892 as the "Promise". A few years later to be replaced by the "Columbia" and "Ste. Claire". The Ste. Claire currently undergoing full restoration for a new job near New York.


Is that the now submerged Mamajuda Island and lighthouse in the background?

Howard's End

In 1969 the hull of the Howard L. Shaw was sunk off the coast of Toronto, to become part of the breakwater for the Ontario Place entertainment complex. She remains there today.

Prequel or

... sequel? To me it looks like the aftermath of the linked photo.

[Tell us how you think that would work. First it's just sitting in the water. And then later, it lands with a giant splash in the exact same place? - Dave]

Now I see. I've only seen the kind of boat launches "on TV" where they slide straight out into the water, so I assumed that's what the previous image was... the boat before it slid into deeper water with a splash. Now I'm guessing the boat slid sideways into the water? I wondered what all those logs at the right of the previous photo were for.

Sorted by rank

Looks like the persons of stature are aboard the second ship, sipping punch; the hoi polloi are aboard the new boat, hanging on for dear life; and the great unwashed -- well, they're on shore, and about to get washed.

Lookey Lou's

Looking at all the people in boats and on shore this must have passed as big entertainment in the day.


In those days you could ride out a ship launch? Hold Tight! Today the liability would never allow that!

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