Toledo’s Largest Bulk Freighter: World Record

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Credit: WORLD RECORD ACADEMY

World’s Largest Bulk Freighter: world record in Toledo, Ohio, states a World Record Academy news source.

Museum ship in Toledo

Col. James M. Schoonmaker, formerly Willis B. Boyer, a lake freighter that served as a commercial vessel on the Great Lakes for much of the 20th century, it is currently a museum ship in Toledo, Ohio; the ship is over 600′ long and 64′ wide and has a bulk cargo capacity of 15,000 tons and believed to be (at the time of her launch) the World’s largest bulk freighter, according to the WORLD RECORD ACADEMY.

“When she was launched in 1911, the S.S. Willis B. Boyer was actually called the Col. James. M. Schoonmaker, and believed to be the largest bulk freighter in the world. Over the next 3 years, the Queen of the Lakes she broke multiple record cargo records.

“The ship is over 600′ long and 64′ wide and has a bulk cargo capacity of 15,000 tons. She served on the Great Lakes until 1980. At that time the common fate of retired ships was demolition and a trip to the scrap yard for recycling. However, that final trip was avoided thanks to the efforts of the Toledo-A-Float non-profit organization that brought the retired ship to the Maumee River where she took up residence at Toledo’s International Park. Over the next several years the ship was converted from hauling freight to documenting Great Lakes shipping in the form of a floating museum,” the Touring Ohio says.

“The S. S. Willis B. Boyer that first anchored at International Park in 1986 is now part of The Great Lakes Historical Society Museum and with the restoration of its original name the Col. James M. Schoonmaker. The ship is part of the main museum, but it does require a seperate ticket to gain access to the historical frieghter.”

“Col. James M. Schoonmaker, formerly Willis B. Boyer, is a lake freighter that served as a commercial vessel on the Great Lakes for much of the 20th century. Named for Medal of Honor recipient James Martinus Schoonmaker, it is currently a museum ship in Toledo, Ohio.

“The steamship Col. James M. Schoonmaker began life on 1 July 1911 at the Great Lakes Engineering Works in Ecorse, Michigan. 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.

“On 17 December 2009 the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority Board of Directors authorized a Memorandum of Understanding with the Great Lakes Historical Society of Vermilion, Ohio, for the creation of the National Museum of the Great Lakes at the Toledo Maritime Center.” (Wikipedia)

“The Col. James M. Schoonmaker was built at the Great Lakes Engineering Works of Ecorse, Michigan. She was christened by Gretchen Schoonmaker daughter of the ship’s namesake and launched on July 1, 1911. The Schoonmaker was unsurpassed in both size and elegance. On her maiden trip, she carried 12,650 net tons of coal from Toledo, Ohio to Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The ship held the title of “Queen of the Lakes” as the largest ship operating on the Great Lakes until April 14, 1914.

“The Col. James M. Schoonmaker served as the flagship of the Shenango Furnace Company. She broke many cargo records for iron ore, grain and coal in her first year. In 1969 the Shenango Furnace Company divested its maritime assets and sold the ship to Republic Steel Corporation, who rechristened it the Willis B. Boyer after their president. Three years later they sold the ship to the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company and the ship was painted in Cleveland-Cliffs’ colors,” the official website says.

“The newly rechristened ship was then moved one last time to her permanent berth at the site of the National Museum of the Great Lakes on the banks of the Maumee River in Toledo. The ship is available for self-guided tours as part of the museum from May through October.”

A cool reprieve on a warm summer day

“The museum provides a cool reprieve on a warm summer day. We watched videos about battles of ships on Lake Erie, learned about wartime on the Great Lakes, viewed old nautical equipment and more. After leaving the museum we moved onto the main attraction – the massive Col. James M. Schoonmaker,” the Ohio.org says.

“The National Museum of the Great Lakes is located at 1701 Front St., in Toledo, Ohio. From the ship, which is docked along the banks of the Maumee River, you can see amazing views of downtown. Our tour was self-guided, relaxed and enjoyable.

“The ship is open for tours from May to October each year. Museum hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admittance to the museum and ship is budget-friendly with discounts for seniors, students, children and AAA members.”

“The 617-foot-long Col. James M. Schoonmaker was once the largest freighter in the world. Visitors can roam all over the ship, or just marvel at its size from a park-like viewing area,” the Roadside America says.

“I visited here in October 2015. The museum is really nice and the ship has lots of interesting things to see.

“They have a self-guided walking tour that doesn’t take too long.”

“The National Museum of the Great Lakes and Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship in Toledo, Ohio tells the awe-inspiring stories of our Great Lakes through breathtaking photography, over 300 incredible artifacts, a number of powerful audiovisual displays, and 40 hands-on interactive exhibits including the 617-foot iron ore freighter Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship and the historic Museum Tug Ohio,” the Ohio Traveler says.

“The Great Lakes are a Powerful Force and our museum tells tales spanning hundreds of years—from the fur traders in the 1600s to the Underground Railroad operators in the 1800s, the rum runners in the 1900s, to the sailors on the thousand-footers sailing today.

“Admission to the National Museum of the Great Lakes is $17 for the Museum + Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship, $11 for the Museum only ($16 & $10/senior and $14 & $8/child ages 6-17).”

“The new National Museum of the Great Lakes, Toledo, Ohio, combines the Great Lakes Historical Society’s extensive collection of artifacts with various interactive exhibits for different age levels. Kids can stoke a steamship boiler with artificial coal while adults can track commercial shipping on a computer monitor. Hundreds of artifacts, ranging from a second-order fresnel lighthouse lens to tourist collectibles from passenger vessels, are distributed throughout. The amount of material is a little overwhelming but the interpretive panels are designed so that a person can take in only the major points or pause to read more detailed information,” the Council of American Maritime Museums says

“Although located on the Maumee River near Lake Erie, the museum interprets all the Great Lakes with four exhibit themes: Exploration & Settlement, Expansion & Industry, Safeguard & Support, Shipwrecks & Safety. As you enter, a short film gives an introductory overview with dramatic lights and sound effects.

“Outside, the museum ship S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker will impress you with its enormous size. It was the largest freighter on the Great Lakes when built in 1911 by Great Lakes Engineering Works in Ecorse, Michigan. Its capacity of 15,000 tons was a dramatic increase over other existing freighters’ capacity of 3,000 to 12,000 tons.”

The Great Lakes Historical Society

“When the Toledo museum opened along the Maumee River in 2014, its name was intended to make a statement about the scope of the institution’s focus. For years, the Great Lakes Historical Society had run the smaller Inland Seas Maritime Museum in Vermilion, but that attraction needed more space and a bigger vision,” the Ohio Magazine says.

“Covering roughly 10,500 square feet of exhibit space (triple the size of its previous incarnation), the National Museum of the Great Lakes has more than 250 artifacts on display — from tools used aboard ships to samples of the industrial materials hauled by freighters — that trace the history of the Great Lakes and the birth of the Industrial Revolution.

“Stretching 618 feet, the SS Col. James M. Schoonmaker is a small boat by today’s standards. But when it was christened in 1911, it was the largest bulk freighter in the world. Today, it’s moored next to the National Museum of the Great Lakes and welcomes visitors to step aboard for a closer look at a time-tested workhorse.”

 

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Source: World Record Academy