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Ecorse of Course: 1906

Ecorse of Course: 1906

Ecorse, Michigan, circa 1906. "Great Lakes Engineering Works, a portion of the yard." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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re: Rusty Roots

Great Lakes Steel - River Rouge. My grandfather worked there 43 yrs and how lived to be in his mid 90's amazes me.

Pay Shack or Outhouse

Whatever its purpose, the little building at the bottom seems the place to be.

GLEW works in Ecorse

In 1922 the township of Ecorse divided and the shipyard ended up in the city of River Rouge. In 1958 I signed on aboard the Edmund Fitzgerald there for its short maiden season.

Oldest freighter

The oldest active freighter on the Great Lakes is the SS St. Mary's Challenger, ex Medusa Challenger, built here in GLEW's Ecorse yard in 1906 as the William P. Snyder. Still steam powered, but repowered with a relatively modern Skinner Unaflow (correct spelling!) 4 cylinder steam engine.

We got aboard a few years ago, before all the security stuff hit. She is steam from stem to stern, not just steam powered. At the time, she had one of the most legendary chief stewards on the lakes, who gave us some awesome cookies.

Some of her components might be in this picture.

Rusty roots

I was born in Wyandotte, which is the next city south of Ecorse, which is itself just south of Detroit with River Rouge in between. My grandpa (also named Vince Prygoski but with a different middle name than me) worked in Ecorse at Great Lakes Steel, which I think is probably a different company than Great Lakes Engineering, from probably sometime in the 1930s or 40s and retired in the mid 1970s, by which time United States Steel had bought Great Lakes and rebranded the factory.

For a while I attended Catholic schools in Wyandotte and there were a number of students from the other nearby cities including Ecorse and River Rouge.

Pride of the American Side

In business for 58 years, this shipworks built many famous vessels including the SS Edmund Fitzgerald.

Birthplace of

The ill-fated SS Edmund Fitzgerald.

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