In our Ship of the Month feature of January issue, we described the difficulties of the steamer ARIZONA when, in November 1887, she burned at Marquette in a freak accident involving the upsetting of a carboy of acid. Our Treasurer, Jim Kidd, has informed us that this was not the only occasion on which acid disagreed with ARIZONA. During October 1882, a case of nitric acid was upset aboard the steamer while she lay in Duluth harbour. The tugs RAMBLER and WILLIAMS came to the scene and pumped enough water into ARIZONA to sink her, thus averting what might have been a disastrous fire.
Jim has also given us a few more details on the accident of November 17, 1887, at Marquette - details that go to prove that the most tragic of accidents may sometimes have an ironic twist to them. ARIZONA had sheltered for about 24 hours at Marquette, a north-west gale raging on the open lake. Capt. Glaser became impatient to deliver his cargo which consisted of acid, consigned to the Hancock Chemical Company at Hancock, Michigan, and machinery which was to be unloaded at Duluth for the McDougall Shipyards.
On November 17, Glaser took ARIZONA out into stormy Lake Superior and, of course, soon had to turn back when the motion of the ship in the heavy seas upset the acid and set fire to the vessel. For all the good it did him to sail, the captain might as well have remained in port because, unbeknown to him at the time, the plant of the Hancock Chemical Company had been destroyed by an explosion and fire on November 14, three days earlier!
ARIZONA was refloated from the waterworks slip at Marquette in the spring of 1888 by the Reid Wrecking Company and was taken to Port Huron where her hull was rebuilt by Dunford & Alverson. Her machinery was reconditioned by the Iron Bay Works.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.