Great Lakes Ships and Shipping Industry Posts

Postcard from the Passenger Steamer South American

This undated postcard, published by Zenith Interstate News Company, shows the Steamer South American on Lake Superior. It was built for the Chicago, Duluth & Georgian Bay Transit Company and launched as an overnight passenger ship on Feb. 21, 1914. A fire in 1924 required the upper works of the vessel to be rebuilt, resulting in the addition of a second smokestack, which is shown on the postcard.

Breaking Ice to Bring in Freighters on the 20th of January

This postcard, published by the Hugh C. Leighton Company, was never mailed and has no year marked on it, but the caption on the front would indicate the illustration is based on a photo shot on Jan. 20 of some year in the early 1900s.

Whether the artist drew people standing on the edge of the ice as a creative choice or whether they were really standing there is not known, unless the photo exists somewhere. Either way, file the act of walking out to ice breakers in the “no, don’t do that” category.

PDD Video Lab: On the Great Lakes

In this edition of the PDD Video Lab we’ve taken mid-20th Century Duluth footage from the National Archive and set it to the title track from the 2017 Ingeborg von Agassiz album O Giver of Dreams.

On Board a Great Lakes Freighter

The film above was discovered with no info such as who shot it, or when and where the scenes were captured. It clearly features Duluth at the beginning and end, however, and appears to be circa 1937.

Postcards from U.S. Naval Reserve Training Ship Gopher

The undated postcards here show the USS Gopher at Duluth. The vessel had a 34-year history on the East Coast as the USS Fern before being renamed Gopher on Dec. 27, 1905, when it began duty with the Minnesota Naval Militia in Duluth.

Postcards from the Wreck of the Steamer Crescent City

The steamer Crescent City was driven into rocks on the shore of Lake Superior northeast of Duluth 115 years ago today — Nov. 28, 1905. It was one of numerous wrecks during a storm that was most famous for sinking the Mataafa near the Duluth Ship Canal. Nine of 24 Mataafa crew members perished; everyone on Crescent City survived.

S.S. North West fictitiously entering Duluth Harbor circa 1906

This manipulated photo from the Detroit Publishing Company is filed by the Library of Congress as “Ship canal looking in, Duluth, Minn.,” and is roughly dated 1906. The summary of the item describes the manipulation:

Photo shows a ship with the words “North West. Northern Steamship Co.” The ship appears to be pasted into the canal scene, with hand-drawn smoke and mast — a composite photograph.

Bulk Freighter Maricopa, circa 1900-1910

This Detroit Publishing Company photo of the bulk freighter Maricopa comes with little information. The Library of Congress dates it as “between 1900 and 1910.” There’s no photographer name and no location. It’s even filed as “S.S. Merick [sic] of Duluth,” for some reason.

Steamer Christopher Columbus at Duluth

The Library of Congress captions this image “Steamer Christopher Columbus from Duluth passing industrial buildings,” and dates it “between 1900 and 1915.”

The SS Christopher Columbus was the longest whaleback ship ever built and the only one outfitted to serve as a passenger steamer — the rest were cargo barges. It was built by American Steel Barge Company in Superior and was in service from 1893 to 1933.

Postcard from the S.S. North West

This postcard was mailed 110 years ago today — Aug. 4, 1910 — from A. Nelson in Duluth to Miss Louise Skoug in Two Harbors.

According to the Historic Detroit website, the North West “began its life as one of the finest passenger steamers ever built for service on the Great Lakes — and, after a series of unusual events, ended that life by being torpedoed by the Germans during World War II.”

Presque Isle scrapes stone base of Duluth Ship Canal pier

The 1,000-foot Presque Isle struck the base of the Duluth Ship Canal’s north pier shortly after 7 a.m. today. The video above is by Conner Blaukat. The perspective below was shot by Mike Burbul.

Postcard from the U.S. Coast Guard Woodrush Breaking Ice in Duluth Harbor

It was July 12, 1950 — 70 years ago today — that some dude with the initials H.E.W. sent this postcard from Duluth to Mr. Joe Rigatti of Pittsburgh, Penn.

Postcard from the Steamer Easton

This undated postcard from the V. O. Hammon Publishing Company shows the Steamer Easton in the Duluth Harbor. The image can be roughly dated between 1905 and 1917.

Watchin’ the Lego ships roll in

Michael Ness of Coon Rapids and his family made this stop-motion video of a Duluth Shipping Canal scene for a contest organized by Odyssey Resorts.

Postcard from a Foreign Vessel at the Aerial Lift Bridge

This undated postcard from Gallagher’s Studio of Photography depicts a “foreign vessel going under famous Aerial Lift Bridge,” according to the caption on the back.

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