History of Great Lakes Cruising

Cruise Lines are Back on the Great Lakes

I’ll admit that I’ve taken a liking to cruise. It must be the influence of having a sailboat that we have taken from port to port on Lake Huron.  Great Lakes Cruising is making a comeback. Recently several cruise ships have announced routes and stops throughout the Great Lakes region. Currently, there are three cruise lines that cover the Great Lakes. Victory Cruise Lines, Great Lakes Cruise Company and Blount Small Ship Adventures. The Great Lakes Cruise Company has four ships that cover a wide range of ports and destinations. One ship, the Pearl Mist is small enough to tackle the famous cruising grounds of Georgian Bay and the beautiful North Channel. 


Great Lakes Crusing


Cruising was the Primary Way to Travel in the 1800’s

In the days before the highway and autos, the only way to travel the vast distances for the Great Lakes was by sail and steamer. In the mid-1800’s until well into the 1950’s one could travel most of the lakes in style and comfort. One of the most famous and beloved ships was the SS South American. The SS South American was a Great Lakes overnight passage steamboat built by the Great Lakes Engineering Works at Ecorse, Michigan. It was built in 1913 for the Chicago, Duluth & Georgian Bay Transit Company. The vessel was launched on February 21, 1914, and was the newer of two sister ships, the older one being the SS North American. 


Great Lakes Cruising


Along with its sister ship, SS North American carried passengers between Chicago, Mackinac Island, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, Duluth, Georgian Bay, Detroit, Cleveland, and Buffalo. These were the heydays of the industry. A businessman could board a ship in Chicago for an overnight trip to northern Michigan. Spend the weekend with the family in the cool northern cabin in the woods and take the ship back to the city on Sunday night for work on Monday. It was noted that Hemingway’s father did just that early in the 1900’s. 


Great Lakes Cruising


Only the South American visited Lake Superior and made a short weekly stop in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula town of Houghton/Hancock. She carried over 450 passengers. The rare picture below hangs in the Rock Harbor Lodge on Isle Royal. It shows tourists being dropped off at the American Dock which still stands today. 


Great Lakes Crusing


The South American was well known for its High School trips in the 1950’s. Southeast Michigan high school seniors would take a small cruise from Detroit to Chicago. The last season for the South American was in 1967. Her final route was to offer trips to the 1967 World’s Fair in Montreal. 


Great Lakes Cruising


Sadly, both ships are now part of history. The SS North American sunk on the Atlantic coast while being towed and the SS South American rotted away and was finally scrapped in 1992. However, with the rapid popularity of cruising now taking place, I expect to see more of these small cruising ships ply their way among the Great Lakes.


Great Lakes Cruising

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DTE Energy on Wind Turbine Taxes – “Appeal Each One!”

DTE Appeals Taxes for Wind Turbines in 2016

“There’s an Appeal for Every Turbine”

 That’s the statement made to the Huron Daily Tribune from Scott Simons, of DTE Energy Media Relations. DTE Energy has filed more than 60 appeals for wind turbines in the Michigan Thumb Wind parks in Huron Gratiot and Sanilac counties. Exelon Wind has filed 74 tax appeals.

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These actions seem to have caught county commissioners and local tax assessors flat footed and into a state of “shock and awe” as the large businesses and utility companies aggressively pursue tax relief. “The fact that all these developers went to the tax tribunal to fight the taxes that assessors put on them indicates that they reneged on their promises,” Huron County Commissioner Ron Wruble told the Huron Daily Tribune. “..and those are promises they made to the people of Huron County.”

Michigan Thumb counties could lose out on $100’s of thousands in tax revenue. It reflects yet another example of buyer’s remorse as Huron County is turned into a Green Energy Industrial Zone.  In July 2018 DTE Energy placed appeals with the Michigan Tax Tribunal regarding the taxable value of the Monroe and Fermi nuclear power plants.  


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DTE Energy announced plans for two additional wind parks that will be built in Michigan that will provide a combined 375 megawatts and begin operation in 2021 and 2022.


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Over the past ten years DTE Energy has been developing wind parks in Michigan and claims to have invested more than $2 billion in renewable energy.  It notes that Michigan ranks among the top 15 states nationwide in potential for wind energy generation.


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