SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Ghost Ship: 1909

Ghost Ship: 1909

April 28, 1909. "Launching party, freighter Benjamin Noble, Wyandotte, Michigan." 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

        Top-heavy with a cargo of steel rails, the Benjamin Noble capsized in a squall 20 miles out from Duluth on April 14, 1914, vanishing into Lake Superior with the loss of all hands. After 90 years as a "ghost ship," its wreck was discovered at a depth of 400 feet off Knife Island in 2004, the front half buried in 40 feet of mud -- "heavily overloaded, just a submarine waiting to happen."

To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

The Noble Olive

The young lady with the large bouquet who christened the vessel is Olive Noble, eldest daughter of the ship's namesake, president of Detroit's Capitol Brass Works and organizer of the Capitol Transportation Company that owned it.

They were a Hardy Lot!

Let's say the folks there average, oh, 165 pounds each. That's about 5,000 pounds of live-load on that rickety platform! And to have what looks like the "trigger" lines running below the reviewing stand? No chance of something snagging the flimsy framework of cobbled-together lumber and bracing — is there? A hardy, and trusting, lot indeed.

[If anything does go wrong, they'll be Hardy Buoys. - Dave]

Suppose anyone there's named Bob?

"Grease the skids"

Here we see the origin of the term.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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