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Question:  Where is ILI 105 today?  Answer at the end of this post. 

As you can tell from its similarity to Day Peckinpaugh (ILI 101)  and ILI 102, this is the fifth of five identical Eriemax freighters launched in Duluth in 1921 and eventually worked between the Great Lakes and salt water of the eastern US, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico.  In July 2021, ILI 105 turned a century old. I consider her my “found art” living garden, as you’ll see below.

Here ILI 105 was discharging Midwest grain into the elevator in Gowanus. Empty, she would return upriver, transit the Barge Canal to Buffalo or farther for the next load.  Countless voyages like those brought her repeatedly through the Canal that bisects New York to this day.

In 1936 she was sold to Michigan-Atlantic Corporation, New York NY and renamed Michigan.

In 1963, still transiting the Barge Canal on a regular basis, she was sold to Liquid Carriers Corporation, a subsidiary of Spentonbush (Spencer, Toner, and Bushey)  Fuel Transport Services, Inc., was under contract to Wyandotte to maintain the caustic soda transport service.


Here she waited just above lock E-9.  Note the sunken concrete barges off her stern.

The rest of these photos took in August 2021, in two separate shoots. You’ll recognize the location as you scroll through.

Does the wreck upper left corner remind you of anything?

Here she floats in apparent space, or in a medium as different as possible from these Aral Sea fishing boats.

And here’s where I say she’s a voluntary transformation of non-sentient steel into green, lush “found art,” which I’ll dub “ore to steel to green.”

This final photo should both conjure up visions of ILI 105 in her prime and reveal exactly where she today lies, right in a backwater of the sixth boro. You may recognize YOG-64 and Bloxom and more off her stern.

Color photos, WVD.  All others used with permission from the Canal Society of New York.

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