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Wisconsin Twin-Screw Steamer

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    Wisconsin Twin-Screw Steamer

    I'm hoping to learn the location of a town from a photo I found in a c1900 album. In the photo is what appears to be a screw-propelled steamboat. I suspect the mystery town is in Wisconsin. From the photo attached maybe somebody has a hunch to where this town is? Or maybe you recognize the vessel? I cannot read the name on the stern. Tried all P-shop tricks I know.

    Clues: I imagine the town is on Lake Michigan or up a river off the lake. The white gabled building to the left has written on it, "1876, Jimmy Fairs, Saloon Restaurant." Dark building near shore says, "Crozier Bros., Needle Toe style shoes."

    PS--I see that most all interest on this forum is about paddle boats. If my boat question seems out of place here maybe someone can point me to the proper forum?
    Attached Files

    *RE: Wisconsin steamer/Saloon Etc.*
    Hi, Joe. Likewise, I ran your photos through the wringer here today with 'steamboat forensics' to see the boat's name, location. Also went on line with "Crozier Bros. shoes, "1876, JImmy Fairs, Saloon Restaurant" with -O- ZILCH results. That doesn't mean this can't be narrowed down with more research. There are on FACEBOOK slews of other sites on boats, ships, regional museums etc. One I know of via Pete Sisak is on 'Great Lakes Ships' which could include a similar boat above. In ignorance I'd say she's a local steam excursion boat or one combined doing short haul passenger and freight work. If there's a rail station on the shore [Which I suspect there is] this boat, like others then, did links from rail up and down the lakes to summer colonies, small towns. Years ago a small packet line with a similar boat ran in service up and down our lake with passengers from the train, freight. Seasonal due to the cold, snow, ice in winter. The decks are open for sure with a forward open deck and a closed cabin possibly for passengers with curtains at the windows. Lots of steamers like that based in lake, bay or inlets up north at that time.

    The port pictured no doubt on Lake Michigan either in Wisconsin or, as I first thought, in Michigan at Harbor Springs, Charlevoix not far from my own summer home. The buildings, towers in the rear vaguely familiar. [?] Definitely photo of a bay or inlet. Have you tried consulting any of the on-line historical societies in Wisconsin? 'Betcha' a cookie you'll get an answer or a link if not here then on a FACEBOOK web or internet search engine. This .org site always welcomes people to post even if the steamer above a screw jobbie. It's all steam. Good luck...keep us posted.

    R. Dale Flick
    Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.


      Dale, thanks for your ideas. I had written to two museums. Today I wrote to more and I found some photos and info on the Inland Route from Charlevoix to Cheboygen. Looks like the boats there needed to be smaller than the one I found. But Michigan ports is where I'll head next if Wisconsin won't take her.

      I'm including a higher-res version of the vessel's ID, just in case a more knowledgable pShopper can perform a minor miracle.
      Attached Files


        Dale and everyone, call off the search. I've found her.

        Just yesterday I learned that the port and boat in question are from Reed's Lake in East Grand Rapids, Michigan. Here's what I now know know about that photo:

        #38: The Ramona Park area on Reed's Lake (all of 1-mile long) in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, sometime between 1895 and 1897. The two buildings with towers are the Railway Company Pavilion (where the Ramona Theater was built after the pavilion burned in 1897) (left) and the Lakeside Boat Club (remodeled and opened in 1895). The "Major A. B. Watson" (1891-1921) sightseeing boat is moored at the long pier. It's a 135-feet long and steam powered, propelled by screw(s) that could hold 475 passengers. The Major Watson lost its top pilot house in 1899. Piers in foreground are for Consumer Ice Company ice collection. The large white building to the left has painted on its gable, "1876, JIMMY FAIRS, SALOON RESTAURANT." It later became "Chinnicks." The small dock-side building has painted on its roof, "CROZIER BROS' NEEDLE TOE, THE LATEST STYLE…" The white house in between is the home of John H. Poisson, who had the Reed's Lake steamer concession. The Lake View House peaks over the top of Jimmy Fair's. Some place identifications and dates above are from Gail Marie Snow, author of "Remarkable Ramona Park." (March 13, 2017)

        Who was to think that a 135-long steamer would be plying the waters of a lake only one-mile long!