As we are all quite aware, the 1982 navigation season has been anything but a happy one on the Great Lakes. The adverse business conditions have resulted in many of our familiar vessels remaining in lay-up for the entire year, while others have operated only intermittently. It has been many years since the vessel passages have been so poor at the various boatwatching locations around the lakes, and many observers have been heard to voice the wish that we could turn back the clock to happier times, when a day spent at the Welland Canal or Little Rapids Cut would have yielded a much more interesting and lengthy list of passing steamers.
To help assuage the feelings of frustration which have beset us all in 1982, we thought that it might be appropriate to present another in our series of newspaper vessel passage columns from the past. This time, we travel back in time seventy-seven years to bring you the report on port arrivals and departures which appeared in the "Detroit Free Press" on May 21, 1905. The list is particularly interesting in that not only are none of the boats mentioned herein still active on the lakes, but most have also been gone from the lake scene for many years.
Perhaps we should mention, however, that the 1905 season was not all sweetness and light for the shipping industry. While it is true that a large number of vessels were in service that season, it is also true that many of them would not survive to see another year on the lakes. The autumn of 1905 was plagued by some of the worst weather ever seen in these parts and many staunch lakers fell victim to the storms which passed through the area in October and November. A good case in point concerns the wooden-hulled Cleveland Cliffs steamer KALIYUGA, which was lost with all hands on Lake Huron. Another notable loss was the steel bulk carrier LAFAYETTE, which stranded on the north shore of Lake Superior and became a total loss when she was struck by her towbarge. Both KALIYUGA and LAFAYETTE feature in our listing. We sincerely hope that the autumn of 1982 will be entirely free of such tragic occurrences .
Cleveland. May 20, 1905 - Arrived: JOHN HARPER, CITY OF LONDON, JAMES H. SHRIGLEY, NYANZA, CHARLES A. EDDY, FRONTENAC, JOHN W. MOORE, HATTIE, SHAWNEE. Cleared: Coal - R. W. ENGLAND, Milwaukee; Light - JAMES C. WALLACE, H. D. COFFINBERRY, Duluth.
Chicago. May 20 - Arrived: CHEMUNG, CLARION, SYRACUSE, WILLIAM A. HASKELL, BAYVIEW, BAVARIA. Cleared: Merchandise - NEW YORK, SENECA, Buffalo; ALASKA, Erie; Grain - MARION, Point Edward; PHENIX, Collingwood; Light - NIKO, ANNIE M. PETERSON, Duluth; ARTHUR ORR, Depot Harbour; tug JAMES A. QUINN, Sault Ste. Marie.
Escanaba. May 20 - Arrived: WINNEBAGO, PENTLAND, HENRY W. OLIVER. Cleared: GLADSTONE, South Chicago; ROBERT W. E. BUNSEN, WALTER VAIL, BALTIC, ALGERIA, SANTIAGO, APPOMATTOX, COLONIAL, Lake Erie ports.
Two Harbors. May 20 - Arrived: MOSES TAYLOR, MARTHA,, ROBERT FULTON, PATHFINDER, SAGAMORE, CORNELL, 133, MARUBA. Cleared: JAMES WATT, GEORGE H. CORLISS, LAFAYETTE, 137, GEORGE B. LEONARD, CAMBRIA, URANUS, Lake Erie Ports.
One interesting feature of this list is the large number of whaleback vessels mentioned. No fewer than eight are included, three of them being steamers and five barges. We wonder how many of our readers will be able to identify them all. The answers will appear in the December issue.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.