You are currently browsing the daily archive for May 18, 2023.

Departing Escanaba, we cut through Little Bay de Noc and headed for the passage between Port des Morts/Northport and Washington followed by Plum Island.  The white cliffs at the north point of Washington Island intrigue.  Previously I had been similarly intrigued by Port des Morts;  if you understand the French you’ll know why.  Whether you do or not, check out this link and story.  Northport after all is at the tip of the Door Peninsula.

Taking our stern and departing Green Bay is the oldest freighter working on the Lakes . . .  Alpena of course, launched a mere 81 years ago.

Dilapidated buildings stand on Pilot Island Light, once referred to as 
Death’s Door Light, as lurid as that sounds.

Morning brought this view of Chicago, our next port, the place where I’d step onto land for a long week.

Chicago Harbor Light welcomed us in;  here we’ve passed in on the way to Navy Pier, and I looked back at sunrise, where distant Philip R. Clarke was northbound for more ore, no doubt, previously posted here on this blog.

James J. Versluis I’ve seen before.

Doing some breakwater work was David R. Shanock,  an unfamiliar name until 

I checked and realized she used to work in the sixth boro as Trevor!!  Check the history here.

All photos, any errors, WVD, who will now catch up on sixth boro images before heading back for the Lakes late next week for LL2 posts.

I have one more LL set, which I’ll post soon, but I first wanted to observe a connection between Eastport ME and Escanaba MI.  Back in April, I was issued travel docs to get to Eastport via Toronto and Saint John NB, which meant a re-entry at St Stephen/Calais.  Since I met up with others at the Saint John airport and we all were crossing in the same van, we were all asked to step into the CBP office for further scrutiny.  Of course, our travel, though circuitous, was legit and we were sent on our way, but that was after some CBP expressed skepticism about a cruise ship being in Eastport.

As it turns out, Eastport, as the deepest eastern US port, it has seen recent cruise ships and was once the 2nd busiest port in the US!  I quote from the second link in the previous sentence:  “

Passengers traveling to and from Boston and Saint John, New Brunswick, came by packed schooners and then crowded steamships, French said. Larger steamships soon made multiple stops in the city each week, carrying hundreds of people at a time. 

In 1876, Eastport launched the North American sardine industry, totaling 18 canning factories along its shores within a decade. The arrival of the railroad to Eastport in 1898 caused the port to further flourish as goods and passengers gained new access to the country’s rail network. As it did, the city’s population reached its peak at just over 5,000. 

Following the invention and spread of the automobile in the early 20th century, the massive steamships fell out of popularity, and in 1933 stopped coming to Eastport altogether.”

For specifics on steamers that once called in Eastport, check this johnwood1946 link.

As I get to the connection between Eastport and Escanaba, let me digress with the next two photos:  it’s Viking Polaris, the newest cruise ship on the Great Lakes, waiting for us to pass at Côte Ste. Catherine in the South Shore Canal portion of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

Bow above by a friend and stern . . . my photo.

This brings us a week later and over 1000 nm farther west to Escanaba MI and

this warm welcome.

I was told by two unrelated folks in town that we were the first passenger vessel to call in Escanaba in over a half century.  Of course, that triggered me to wonder what the previous vessel was.  The archivist at the local county historical society was very prompt in responding to my Q, writing… “During the later 1940s and the 1950s both SS North American and SS South American made stops in Escanaba.  The boats docked at the municipal dock at that time, and passengers (as many as 400) walked across the park to the old House of Ludington Hotel for lunch, followed by strolling around the city.  I do have photos of one of the boats at the dock.  Many older adults who were young folks at the time remember that the passengers threw coins into the water and kids dove off the dock for them.  (Those stories always give me a ‘third world’ feeling.)”

Phenomenal!  I know of the two American ships and their ignominious end.  It also gave me pause to think we were following in the wake of these two fine vessels produced by GLEW!

Here’s some info about Escanaba’s Sand Point Light, which I’ll be sure to visit later this season.  Another stop will be House of Ludington.  To be acknowledged but now long gone is also Sialia

Many thanks to Karen Lindquist, archivist, for the info about Escanaba and its previous visitors.  

All photos, unless otherwise stated, and any errors, WVD


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,578 other subscribers
If looking for specific "word" in archives, search here.
Questions, comments, photos? Email Tugster

Documentary "Graves of Arthur Kill" is AVAILABLE again here.Click here to buy now!

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.


May 2023