The times of greatest shipbuilding in the Great Lakes region was during the lumbering era. From 1839 until the early 1890s, the virgin old-growth Michigan forests were cut down to produce lumber for growing towns and cities in the lower Great Lakes. Michigan was the nation’s leading lumber producer from 1869 until about 1900. The only way to transport finished milled lumber from the shore side mills in the Great Lakes was by ship.
Recent extreme weather patterns and sub-zero conditions across the Upper Great Lakes region have blown away forecasts of yet another year of below-average ice cover. The recent polar vortex spikes Great Lakes ice coverage. Currently, four out of the five Great Lakes are significantly above average reported ice coverage data. Except for Lake Superior which is near its average ice coverage norm for this date in the year.
Tales of four ghost ships of the Great Lakes. The 1800s was an era of ships plying the waters over 2000 miles of waterways. Some never made it to port but sailors claim to see these ships still plying waters.
Work continues after the launch of the Mark W. Barker. The first U.S. flagged new Great Lakes freighter to be built in Great Lakes waters in 40 years.
One interesting little site, located in a county park, is the Lightship Huron. Lightships are floating lighthouses that could be anchored on the lakes where it was too deep or impossible to build a lighthouse.
Side-wheeler steamers were used across the Great Lakes well into the late 1800s. The East Saginaw and Bay City line ran on Michigan’s Saginaw River.
The picture post on our sister site about the huge dock in Forrestville gives rise to the question. Why did they name the boathouse the Iron Chief? A little exploring showed that there indeed was a ship with this unusual name but she was not made out of iron. Today, she lays in over a hundred feet of water off the shore of the Grindstone City in the Thumb Area Bottomland Preserve