Category Archives: Great Lakes

Great Ships of the Great Lakes at Lake Erie Metropark, Nov. 22, 2pm, Brownstown MI

Cut and paste of a press release, with a few hyperlinks tossed in.

Great Ships of the Great Lakes at Lake Erie Metropark


Join nationally recognized lecturer, model maker and marine historian Keith Steffke for a fascinating look at some of the great ships that have plied and died on the Great Lakes at our special presentation “Great Ships of the Great Lakes,” on Sunday, November 22 at 2 p.m., at the Marshlands Museum and Nature Center of Lake Erie Metropark, in Brownstown. 


Steffke will focus on the many ships that were made at the legendary Great Lakes Engineering Works – a River Rouge/Ecorse (Detroit River)  shipyard that operated from 1902 to 1961. The Edmund Fitzgerald is perhaps the best known vessel produced at this facility, but there were many others. Each ship has a story to tell and Mr. Steffke will relate some of the more fascinating tales. 


This November marks the 50th anniversary of the end of commercial shipbuilding in the Downriver area.  The launching of the freighter "Arthur B. Homer" on November 7, 1959 spelled the end of 135 years of shipbuilding tradition on the Detroit River. Her builder, the Great Lakes Engineering Works,  was founded in 1902 and finally ceased operations in 1961.   This legendary shipbuilder was noted for the great variety and number of bulk freighters, tugs, car ferries and luxurious passenger ships they constructed at their River Rouge/Ecorse shipyard over the course of a half century. Steffke will deliver an entertaining program filled with anecdotes about  this renowned builder of ships such as the ill-fated "Edmund Fitzgerald", among other famous vessels.  Using unique prints, photographs, artifacts, and other rare archival items, Steffke documents the rise and fall of the last Downriver shipbuilder.


Travel back to a time when the rattle of the riveting gun and the tremendous splash of a launching hull could be heard along the Detroit River!


Fee: $2 per person. Pre-registration required.  Please call 734-379-5020 for more information, or to register.


Edmund Fitzgerald – memorial at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, Whitefish Point, MI

(write about the display in Paradise)

from the Sault Star:

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is getting to once
again ring the bell 29 times, during the 14th annual Edmund Fizgerald
Memorial Service.

The Edmund Fitzgerald, a 729-foot ore carrier, and her entire
crew of 29 men were lost on Lake Superior 34 years ago in one of the
worst storms in three decades.

The freighter lies north-northwest of Whitefish Point in 160 metres of water.

The service begins Tuesday at 7 p. m. at the Whitefish Point, Mich., museum.

Each year, in honour of the Fitgerald crew, the bell is
uncovered and rung 29 times during a 'Call to the Last Watch Ceremony.'
The 30th ring is for all mariners lost on the Great Lakes.

Music will be provided by Great Lakes balladeer Carl Behrend
and Michigan singer and songwriter Dan Hall. Guest speaker is William
Maki, watchman on the Arthur M. Anderson the night the Fitzgerald was

The shipwreck museum will be open from 10 am. to 3 p. m.

For more information, call 1- 800-635-1742.

The Sault Star Contact Details

Send all correspondence to:

The Sault Star
145 Old Garden River Rd
Sault Ste Marie, Canada  P6A 5M5

The bumboat Marine Trader in Duluth, MN, and other parts of Great Lakes marine life

Bumboats are small boats used as floating shops that market to sailors in harbor.  There’s a tradition of them on the Great Lakes; here’s what I could find with a bit of searching.

In Duluth, Minnesota, the Marine Trader went back to the lakes in 1998:  (via a story in Minnesota’s World Port w/photos)

On May 24, 1998, an
old boat and an even older maritime practice both came back to life. Here’s what
happened, as described by Franz VonRiedel: “After 12 years of lying idle, the
bumboat Marine Trader pulled up along-side the 650-foot self-unloader Algoway at the
Cutler-Magner salt dock in Duluth. Up went the ladders, and the crew members of the
Algoway scrambled down to do a little shopping … ”

Franz VonRiedel wrote those words as part of an
article for a recent edition of the Nor’easter, the journal of the Lake Superior
Marine Museum Association. Mr. VonRiedel knows bumboats, and he really knows the Marine
Trader. He and his father, Bruce VonRiedel, own the Trader and three other small craft
that make up their business, Acme Marine Services.

Some other bumboats on the lakes included the Dewey’s and Kessler II in Toledo (now scrapped), and something similar but not quite the same is the mail boat J. W. Westcott on the Detroit River.

Generally lots more information and forums and photos at .