Post Number: 114
|Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 10:12 am: || |
For those of you who are interested in Detroit’s maritime history, a piece of that will be floating by early this afternoon.
The S/S St. Mary’s Challenger (formerly the Medusa Challenger then the Southdown Challenger) will be going by on her way to Cleveland, OH. She is the oldest operating vessel on the Great Lakes at the tender age of 101 years old. She was built as Hull #17 by the Great Lakes Engineering Works in Ecorse. (See history at link below.) http://www.boatnerd.com/pictur es/fleet/stmaryschallenger.htm
She is currently due at the Salt Dock in Marine City around 10:08, so I’m guessing that puts her at the Coast Guard Station on Belle Isle around 13:08 (1:08 for you land-lubbers), & at Downtown Detroit (around the RenCen) around 1:30.
Previously, she was a frequent visitor at the Cemex/Medusa Dock near Chene Park, but those silos are obviously gone. The last time she was here was once in 2005 at the new Lafarge silos down by Zug Island. As such, we haven’t been graced with her presence in a very long time.
Even for the non-Boatnerd set, this is a special moment. Get out & see her while you can, before she becomes razor blades, or worse, one of those bloody barges.
Post Number: 76
|Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 11:11 am: || |
And I'm gonna be stuck in Oak Park. Thank you for the info! I lived in Sault Ste. Marie for some time where I spent hours watching these magnificent ships.This one is truly special!
Post Number: 9178
|Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 11:25 am: || |
Thanks for the tip, AW.
Great sightseeing perk for us...gotta get downtown for lunch.
Post Number: 21
|Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 11:54 am: || |
damn working from home today. I saw her many times when the old cement silos were still there.
Post Number: 182
|Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 12:07 pm: || |
Unquestionably my favorite Great Lakes ship I ever sailed. It was more like a working vacation on an operating museum piece.
The thumping of the reciprocating Skinner Uniflow was like a comforting heartbeat. Back then, plenty of port time in Detroit and Cleveland.
Of course, its home port was in Charlevoix. Plenty of tanned QT’s wiling to share a tale or two.
A great night with the sister of the architect of (at that time) Camden Yard & Jacobs field and of course Comerica Park and her sister blond Spartans, as I hauled them around in my vintage Electra 225. “Wow, what’s that?” “An eight track tape deck. Nothing earlier than 1979. Wanna hear some Deep Purple.” “Uh, Oh, sure.”
The cook would go out of his way to buy the freshest groceries like trout and snap beans. My great grand-father may have helped build her too, since he worked at the Ecorse shipyard during that era.
The only downside, was the quarters were not air-conditioned, ventilation consisting of a wind scoop and a fan. During that parching summer of ’94 (or was it '95?), she was mighty toasty.
It is amazing she’s hanging tough. Last I saw her was in dry dock at Sturgeon Bay, her hull looked pretty beat-up but who wouldn’t after 100 years?
Post Number: 201
|Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 12:10 pm: || |
what a great ship, thanks for all the info
Post Number: 9186
|Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 12:15 pm: || |
Great backstory, Sailor_Rick.
You know anything of the Dearborn fellow and his dad restoring a previously sunken sailing vessel they salvaged off Port Huron?! (might have that location wrong)
I've GOT to look him up, he's an old, old family friend.
THIS would make a great story. You know anything either, AWfavre?!
Post Number: 115
|Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 3:17 pm: || |
Hey, JGannon, I have not heard about the restoration project you mentioned. Did they raise the vessel, or is she still in the water? Drop me a line if you get hold of them & get more info. I’d love to hear about it.
Sailor_rick, thanks for sharing your history & thoughts about the ol’ girl. I was lucky enough to tour her the last time she was in Detroit in the fall of 2005. They started up that Skinner Uniflow, & it was awe-inspiring watching those great, huge pistons begin rotating ever-so-slowly. You could see the golden, clear, hot oil dripping from the various parts through the glass panes protecting her innards. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve seen it, but it was just magic.
Walking on her deck was an adventure, too. Her deck winches are still operated by steam, & every now & then, they randomly hissed steam as I walked by. She’s like this great, living, breathing, ever-so-slightly cranky creature. Beautiful!
Hope folks got a chance to see her live or on the Dossin Cam. She’ll be making a return trip upbound, although I have no idea the timing. Hopefully, this won’t be her last trip to our fair parts.
Have a Happy Mother’s Day weekend, everyone!
Post Number: 183
|Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 5:52 pm: || |
Thanks! No, I haven't heard of that restoration project.
Yeah, there's nothing like a sighing steam winch to cure 'yer blues.
Post Number: 283
|Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 4:02 pm: || |
I have a gallery of about 150 photos of and on the Challenger including ones I took yesterday in the St. Clair river. She's a beautiful ship and my favorite.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/t heempirebuilder/sets/721575942 82227960/
Post Number: 284
|Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 12:06 am: || |
An interesting sidenote....She was converted to a cement carrier in 1967. The way I understand it, the silos at Detroit by Chene Park were constructed to receive cement from her. Ironic that's she's way outlived not only most other ships, but many of the docks that she was built to trade at. I never would have imagined that she'd outlive her "new" Detroit Silos....
Post Number: 93
|Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 1:47 am: || |
Fantastic Photo's you have there, Thanks for sharing.
Post Number: 121
|Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 4:46 am: || |
For those that missed the passage Friday,
we spotted the Challenger in Lake St. Clair just south of the St. Clair cut.
To see more of the Challenger please visit:
(Message edited by flybydon on May 13, 2007)
Post Number: 1742
|Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 8:53 am: || |
This has been a WONDERFUL post!! Congratulations to all the posters, and for awfavre for starting the whole shebang!
When we had our condo in Charlevoix, we would take our little SeaRay ( The Loophole ), and would follow her in from Lake Michigan to her cement dock. She would even give us a toot.
Hate to say it, but I remember when the Challenger sailed as the ALEX D CHISHOLM. And even back then, that was her third name-change. She has had more name-changes than Liz Taylor has had husbands.
Post Number: 122
|Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 9:40 am: || |
"She has had more name-changes than Liz Taylor has had husbands."
Rock, bet the Chisholm (Challenger) has had as many men on her as well. Being Sarcastic.
Post Number: 206
|Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 9:52 am: || |
wow, I would love to get on that ship
Post Number: 451
|Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 11:07 am: || |
Thanks for the info Awfavre, we'll see you there. We will be the family with the white German Shepard. Come over and introduce yourself
Post Number: 1743
|Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 1:09 pm: || |
Hello Magnet, is that one of the old classic P and H freighters? That's the way they should all look, a pure classic. Long gone.
Post Number: 285
|Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 3:11 pm: || |
It appears to be the Cedarglen (P&H name)or the E.J. Newberry (Soo River name) Both stacks were identical except the logo which I can't see. She was also built in Detroit and was the first ship to have an "Iron Deckhand" and single piece hatch covers which are still used today. I believe she was built in 1925.
Thanks for the compliments Ragtop. She's a boat that's near and dear to me.
Flyby...funny comment re: more men than liz...and true I'm sure....
Post Number: 1744
|Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 3:45 pm: || |
I'd say Cedarglen it is, BBrew. You know your vessels and your pix of the Challenger are really neat. A wonderful collection.
Next time you are at the Lock 7 Motel( Inn at Lock 7), check out my pix of the Cedarglen taken in the Canal a few years ago, and which I framed and is now hanging on the breakfast room wall along with many, many really neat old photos, both black and white/color, of both salties and lakers that have traversed the Welland Canal these last 50 years. I don't recall if there is one of the Challenger, so bring one with you next time you are there.
Post Number: 452
|Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 4:56 pm: || |
The_rock, you have a very keen eye. That photo is of the Cedarglen, taken in April of '83 from Angel park. Good eye as well Billybbrew, you know your boats. I went to Belle Isle today, but no luck at seeing the St. Mary’s Challenger. I think she may have been submerged as she passed.
Post Number: 286
|Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 7:12 pm: || |
She slipped upbound during the night. I watched her lights as she went past the Rouge Entry around midnight. She cleared the Blue Water Bridge at Port Huron around 07:45 (7:45 am)
Just an addendum. E. J. Newberry is the same boat as Cedarglen, just under it's previous owner's name. The paint job and stack were identical save for a Shamrock when it was Soo River and a "P&H" crest after Soo River Company was taken over by Parrish and Heimbecker.
(Message edited by BillyBBrew on May 13, 2007)