Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Weekend Blog - The S.S. Milwaukee Clipper

We seem to have taken a bit of a maritime swing here for the last few weeks, so today...we'll head back to the shores of Lake Michigan in Muskegon Mi and tell you the condensed story of the SS Milwaukee Clipper.

Originally built in 1904 and christened the Juniata this magnificent ship sailed the Great Lakes from Buffalo New York and Duluth Minnesota bringing the "huddled masses" of immigrants to America to that part of the country long before the roads were capable of getting them there.  They were in search of the American Dream.  She ran that route until 1915 under the Pennsylvania Railroad.  The Panama Canal Act saw her sold by the Pennsylvania Rail Road Company but she still sailed another 20 seasons until 1937 when she was shuttered at the conclusion of the Chicago Worlds Fair.

In 1940, she was extensively modernized and became a passenger ship and car ferry on Lake Michigan and she sailed 29 more years under the new name The S.S. Milwaukee Clipper.  She made two, sometimes three round trips a day at a whopping 18 knots.  7 hours each way and when the 4th boiler was fired up...the could make the trip in 6 hours.   In 1971 her she sailed the last regular route.

Today, she is a National Landmark and maritime museum with a volunteer crew working to restore her little by little and offering tours on board from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  Her last captain Bob Priefer is on the board of directors and oversees the repair, the fundraising and holds a life time of memories on board the ship.

The Milwaukee Clipper Captain Bob Priefer
If you are even in the area, take a few minutes to walk her quarters, you'll see history with your own eyes of a long gone era, proudly housed in Muskegon Michigan.

If you'd like to know more, click on the image below to visit the Milwaukee Clipper website.


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