Member William A. Breaker of Mississauga, who sails for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., has asked us about the wrecking tug FAVORITE which is presently lying at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. He has also enquired about another tug of the same name.
In fact, the Great Lakes Towing Company of Cleveland, which was organized in 1899 and bought out a number of other towing and wrecking firms to provide an orderly and responsible approach to lake towing, has operated three wrecking steamers named FAVORITE. The first, U.S.9201, was a beautiful wooden boat with hog braces of the arch type. Built in 1864 at Fort Howard, Wisconsin, and converted from a freighter, she was 139.7 x 28.7 x 8.4, 409.50 Gross and 351.42 Net. She was acquired by Great Lakes Towing in 1902 and served the company well until she was destroyed by fire in 1907 at St. Ignace, Michigan.
To replace the burned wrecker, Great Lakes Towing had a second FAVORITE (U.S.203983) built at Buffalo in 1907. Registered at Duluth, she was 180.7 x 43.0 x 20.6, 1223 Gross, 691 Net. This FAVORITE was a handsome steamer with two tall stacks set athwartship. Her wrecking boom was slung over the foredeck and hung from a huge A-frame, between the legs of which rose her high pilothouse topped with an open bridge. Despite the indispensable service which she provided on the lakes, FAVORITE served these waters for only one decade. She was requisitioned in 1917 for wartime service on salt water and she did not return to the lakes after the cessation of the hostilities.
In 1919, Great Lakes Towing built for itself at its Cleveland shipyard a brand new wrecking steamer and it is not surprising that she also was christened FAVORITE. Registered at Duluth, U.S.217520, she measured 158.O x 40.2 x 13.3, 746 Gross, 393 Net. She was powered by a two-cylinder compound engine, 25" and 50" x 36", with steam at 154 p.s.i. provided by three single-ended, coal-fired Scotch boilers. Great Lakes Towing also built the boilers, while the engine was made for the boat by the Montague Iron Works.
FAVORITE (III) was normally stationed at the Soo and, with her turtle-backed bow, her curved-back stem, her huge single stack, and the immense crane that reposed on the boat deck between the pilothouse and stack, she was a strange looking but not altogether unattractive vessel. Of course, she was painted in the usual company colours, with a green hull, red cabins, and black stack with a large letter 'G' in white.
As the years passed, FAVORITE (III) was required less often. She spent many years of idleness at the Soo and, when Great Lakes Towing closed its tug office there, she was moved to Cleveland. There she languished for several further years. About seven years ago, the decrepit old steamer was acquired by Le Sault de Sainte Marie Historical Sites Inc. and was moved to a berth at the foot of Johnstone Street in the Michigan Sault, near the museum ship VALLEY CAMP. FAVORITE has not yet been restored as an open display, but it is evident that she has, at least, managed to elude the scrappers' torches.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.