“once the largest freighter on the Great Lakes”
Willis B Boyer is a lake freighter that served as a commercial vessel on the Great Lakes for much of the 20th Century, and as of 2013 is undergoing renovation as a museum ship in Toledo, Ohio. The steamship Willis B Boyer began life on 1 July 1911 in Detroit as SS Col James Schoonmaker. At the time of her launch she took the title of Queen of the Lakes which is given to the biggest ship on the Great Lakes. She became the flagship of the Shenango Furnace Company. She broke many cargo records for iron ore, grain and coal in her first year. She was powered by a triple expansion steam engine which was later replaced by a steam turbine in 1955. She sailed as part of the Shenango's fleet until 1969 when she was sold to the Interlake Steamship Co who chartered Col James Schoonmaker to the Republic Steel Corporation. After a three year charter to that company Interlake decided to sell her to the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co. They operated the laker for 7 years in the iron trade until she was laid up in 1980 due to a downturn in the steel industry which she served. After sitting unwanted for 7 years, the city of Toledo decided to purchase her for use as a museum. She sits as the centerpiece of the International Park in that city.
I believe the ship has been moved and renamed. Look for the COL. JAMES M. SCHOONMAKER at the NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE GREAT LAKES:
1701 Front Street
Toledo, Ohio 43605
United States of America
Phone: (419) 214-5000
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Willis B Boyer Museum Ship
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