Great Lakes Ship Travel in 1800s
Steamship Traveling on Saginaw Bay
The Birth of “Going Up North”
Prior to the railroads and highways being built in Michigan’s Thumb region the only quick way to travel between the Upper Thumb and Detroit and Bay City was by steamer. By the late
Service on Saginaw Bay
The steamer Charles W Liken was
The End of the C.W. Liken
While details are sketchy, the C.W. Liken operated for seven years as a passenger and mail courier. In 1904 it was rebuilt and listed for sale.
On August 13,
Ships Serving Saginaw Bay and Michigan’s Thumb
Between 1830 and 1910 there were hundreds of ships plying the Great Lakes hauling passengers and freight. Here are some notable transport Lines and the ships that served the Saginaw Bay and Thumb region.
The Star Line
The Star Line had been in operation since the 1870s. In 1883, A. N. Moffat brought a 55% controlling interest in the tug line and took over established passenger service between Detroit and Port Huron. This was a competitive route. During one season, a rate war commenced between the Star Line and its competitor, the Cole & Grummond Line. One-way fares dropped from 75 to 15 cents and the competition extended to how fast each could complete the river run. The “river war” lasted until a truce called between the companies and rates returned to normal for the rest of the season. Ultimately the Star Line hit hard times forcing its general manager and majority owner, A.N. Moffat into retirement. Declining revenues enabled Moffat’s company to be taken over by the White Star Line.
Star Line Ships
- Milton D. Ward – Built 1870 in Marine City. 182 feet, 500 hp.
- Robert J. Holland – Built 1872 Marine City. 156 feet.
- Evening Star – Built 1866 East Saginaw. 168 feet.
- Saginaw Valley – Built 1881. Saginaw. 181 feet.
Cleveland & Saginaw Transportation Co.
Headquartered in East Saginaw this line offered transport of passengers and freight from Bay City/ Saginaw to Goodrich Ontario, Sand Beach, Port Hope, Grindstone City, Port Austin, Caseville, East Tawas, Tawas City
Cleveland & Saginaw Transportation Ships
- Jacob Bertschy
- St. Joeseph
- Merchant Vessels of the United States, By United States. Bureau of Customs June
- Great Lakes Vessels Online Index
- Marine Review, Volume 30, 1904
- Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library
- Detroit Free Press
- Maritime History of the Great Lakes
- Plan a Day of Kayaking in the Upper Thumb
- Historic Story of Cruising the Great Lakes
- Great Lakes Cruising the Summer of 2019