“epic landmark private residence”
Built in 1924 for use by the Ford Motor Company, the Benson Ford (I) was original utilized to transport iron ore and related materials across the Great Lakes by the growing auto company. Measuring 612’ X 62’ with a moulded depth of 32’ and a carrying capacity of 15,000 net tons at mid-summer draft, the ship was built by Great Lakes Engineering, Ecorse, Mich., and was launched April 26, 1924. High upon a promontory on South Bass Island in Lake Erie at Put-in-Bay, Ohio, sits the Owners and Captains Quarters of the former Great Lakes Shipping Boat, The Benson Ford. The boat was built by Henry Ford and named after his grandson many years ago. After fifty years of service on the Great Lakes, the Benson Ford was scheduled in 1986 to be scrapped at the Port of Cleveland, Ohio. On the top front section of the boat were the walnut paneled state rooms, dining room, galley, and passenger lounge designed by Henry Ford for his own pleasure while traversing the Great Lakes on business. This is when an Ohio husband and wife stepped in realizing that these elegant quarters would be a magnificent residence, if they could only be removed from the rest of the ship and brought to land. After many days with torches and cranes, the Quarters were removed from the ship and floated by barge some sixty miles west to the tranquil island of South Bass Island. Additional cranes were needed to lift the Quarters off the barge at the Island up a steep eighteen foot promontory to its final site on solid bedrock on a single family home lot. The Quarters became The Ship Residence, a private home on South Bass Island. ***please remember this is a private residence so be respectful if you boat past!***
My Grandfather worked for Ford and took many trips on the boats and many of them on the Benson. I actually have one of the orange life preservers that my Grandfather had received! Love the history it holds.
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The Benson Ford Shiphouse
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