Great Lakes Ship Models - 60 Photos

The Lake Erie Islands Historical Society at Put-in-Bay has a significant collection of models of historic great lakes ships as well as famous island area ships.

The ships SS SeeandBee, Lady Elgin, Vandalia, SS Michigan, Rouse Simmons, SS South America, Roger Blough, Edmund Fitzgerald, Ontario Power, D.F. Rose, Milton, Alaska, Deprere, C.F. Bielman, Christopher Columbus, Mohegan, Grampian, John Ericsson, Pere Marquette, Presque Isle, Imperial, Graeme Stewart, Dover Clipper and Ace, are pictured below.

Click on individual pictures to open them to full size.


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The C&B (Cleveland-Buffalo) Steamship Line launched the SS SeeandBee in 1912. As the largest side wheel ship in the world she ran from Cleveland to Buffalo. She carried over 5000 passengers and crew with overnight accommodations and space for day trip passengers.
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Close up view of the SeeandBee starboard paddle-wheel which was over 50 feet from top to bottom. Note that the paddle was fully enclosed with the structure of the hull. The SeeandBee was later converted to an aircraft carrier, renamed the USS Wolverine, and used to train pilots during WWII.
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The Lady Elgin was launched at Buffalo in 1851. Her schedule until 1856 was from Buffalo to Chicago. In 1856 her new run was from Chicago to Superior. On September 7, 1860 the Lady Elgin left Chicago bound for Milwaukee. The following day a violent storm lashed Lake Michigan. The schooner Augusta, sailing south for Chicago, sideswiped the Lady Elgin. The captain not realizing he had dealt the Lady Elgin a lethal blow sailed on to Chicago. The Lady Elgin quickly sank. The loss of life was over 300 people out of 398 passenger and crew. Many politicians left their temporary homes at hotels Washington DC to pay homage to those that lost their life.
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Close up view of the wheel-house for the Lady Elgin. Note the classic octagonal design of the wheel-house.
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The Vandalia was launched in 1841 near Buffalo. She was the the first propeller commercial in the world when she was built. Her design was to be come the early prototype for propeller powered ships.
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Close up view of the starboard bow of the Vandalia.
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Close up view of the fore deck of the Vandalia.
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SS Michigan is an example of an early attempt to use more that one engine to power a ship. The experiment proved unsuccessful because the two engines were not connected by a drive shaft. When the waters were rough and the ship rode the waves the individual paddle-wheels would spin out of control causing the ship to waddle in the water like a duck.
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Close up view of the Michiganís amidship region showing the two walking beam engines.
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The Rouse Simmons was a three masted schooner. She was know as the Christmas Ship. Her last run from northern Michigan each season was always a load of Christmas trees for Chicago. Midway on this her last voyage she sank to the bottom of Lake Michigan. Today you can still see the trees lashed to her decks in over 260 feet of water.
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Rouse Simmons aft view of the main deck.
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The SS South America was the last of the elegant passenger ships that sailed on the Great Lakes. She ran from 1914 until 1967, a period of 53 years.
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SS South America view of her amidships.
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The Roger Blough was launched at Lorain, Ohio shipyard in 1972. She was the first land locked Great lakes freighter. The locks at the Welland Canal and the Soo to Lake Superior were not large enough to pass the Roger Blough.
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The wheel-house of the Roger Blough.
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The Edmund Fitzgerald was the first 730 foot lake freighter built. During here life time she wet numerous records for largest tonnage for cargo. She was refitted with new oil fired boilers in 1968.
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Stern section of the Edmund Fitzgerald. On November 10, 1975, she sank on Lake Superior on an early winter gale in which the winds were clocked at over 70 mph.
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The Ontario Power is a good example of a Laker-Ocean self loader which still can be found on the Great Lakes
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Stern view of the Ontario Power.
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D.F. Rose is a example of a wooden steam barge. This style of ship was often referred to as a "Rabbit Boat"
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D.F. Rose, starboard stern view of the wheelhouse and crews quarters.
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The wooden scow, Milton is a good example of a scow type sailing freighter used in the late 1800s.
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Milton wooden scow bow view with the horizontal capstan showing the anchor cable.
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The Alaska was built in Gibson & Craig at Buffalo by the Anchor Line in 1871. She is a good example of a packet steamer.
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Starboard close up view of the wheelhouse of the Alaska.
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The Deprere, shows the archtruss construction which was used to strengthen the longer wooden freighters,
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Starboard midships view of the Depere, showing a closeup is the archtruss super structure.
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The steamer V.H. Ketchum represents the class of ships known as steamer-schooners. She was built in 1874.
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Port bow view of the steamer V.H. Ketchum. Note her appearance strongly resembles the design of later freighters even with her sails.
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The Onoko was the first steam barge with an iron hull. When she was launched in 1882, she had the greatest carrying capacity of any vessel on the Great Lakes.
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A head-on view of the Onoko showing a close up view of the wheelhouse.
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The C.F. Bielman was launched near Detroit at West Bay City, Michigan in 1892. She was often used to pull schooner-barges with wood pulp and raw wood.
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Starboard stern closeup view showing the details of the stern quarters used by the crew. She was retired in 1926. During her last years her cargo hold was modified to carry automobiles.
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The Christopher Columbus entered service in 1893 to provide transportation to the World's Fair Colombian Exhibition in Chicago. She as the one and only whaleback passenger ship ever built. She carried over 500,000 passengers during her 43 year career.
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Full bow view of the Christopher Columbus showing a closeup view of the chains and anchors. Her whaleback construction was designed to provide better control of the ship in rough seas.
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Stern view of the Christopher Columbus the rudder and the stern showing the outside emergency ships wheel.
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The two ships shown here are the Mohegan with the Grampian in tow.
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The Mohegan is a wooden steam barge launched in 1894 used mostly in the lumber trade.
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Starboard stern view of the Mohegan showing the stern quarters and fantail.
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The Grampian represents the class of large wooden steam-barges that were frequently towed to increase the capacity of the towing ship. Many times several steam-barges would be towed at one time.
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Bow view of the Grampian showing the tow cable.
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Whaleback freighters like the John Ericsson plied the shipping lanes of the Great Lakes starting in the 1890s. She was launched at Superior, Wisconsin in 1896. This design was thought to be more stable in the rough waters of the Great Lakes.
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Closeup view of the John Ericsson showing her wheelhouse which was situated behind the large circular housing for the capstan.
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Stern port view of the John Ericsson showing the rudder and stern cabin quarters. You can see from these 3 views that the unique whaleback design was very different.
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Pere Marquette represents a unique class of ships that were designed to carry railroad cars from Michigan to Wisconsin. The railroads found it cheaper to build ferryboats that to run their rail lines around Lake Michigan.
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Starboard bow view of the Pere Marquette featuring the wheelhouse.
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Stern view of the railcar ferry Pere Marquette showing train tracks and railcars on the main deck.
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Freighter Presque Isle was launched in 1898 and was still in service in 1989, 91 years later. She was refurbished twice during her years of service making her one of the oldest continuously operational ships in service.
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Starboard bow view of the wheelhouse. Note the interesting series of stairways to reach the bridge.
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The Imperial was built in England in 1897. Her first service route was from from England to the Black Sea. In 1909, she was purchased by the Imperial Oil Company. From then on she was a Great Lakes oil freighter.
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Port view of the midship of the Imperial showing the boons sued to pump oil from and to the hull.
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Port view of the stern of the Imperial showing the poop deck and crew's quarters.
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Graeme Stewart built in 1908. She was the first fire tugboat on the Great Lakes.
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Graeme Stewart starboard midship view showing the monitor nozzles.
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Graeme Stewart starboard bow view showing both the wheelhouse and fire fighting equipment.
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Dover Clipper a example of a typical Great Lakes commercial fishing boat. For those familiar with Put-in-Bay, this model represents our own Sonny S now used to ferry passengers from Put-in-Bay to Middle Bass.
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Dover Clipper port stern view showing the reel with fishing nets.
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This ocean going freighter the Ace was a new form of ship known as a "laker". She was owned by McDougall-Duluth CO. All of the ships were named for playing cards ie: Ace, King, Queen, Jack etc. In 1946, she ran aground and never worked again. She was scraped in 1948.
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Starboard midship view of the Ace showing the cranes used load and unload freight.
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Starboard view of the stern section of the Ace show details of a "laker."
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