B. F. Wade (Propeller), U2156, 1 May 1897
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THE OLD BEN WADE.
She Is Now A Floating Drydock In Chicago.
Forty years ago no finer steamer scudded over the lakes than the BEN WADE, named after the famous statesman from Ohio. She was the flagship, the recognized leader of them all. Old Capt. Eber Ward, of this city, her owner, was as proud of the steamer and her achievements as of anything in his vast possessions. She was about 230 feet overall, and had plenty of beam, and powerful engines, and could make fast time in almost any kind of weather.
But of course time made her passe, and when others finer still came to compete she gracefully dipped her colors and quit the passenger business. They cut away her masts and cabins and upper works, and nothing remained but the hull, which for some years followed in the wake of a towing steamer. A still lower position was in store for her, however. She was made into a fruit barge and for some years more carried fruit from St. Joe to Chicago. A dozen years ago she was sold to a Muskegon towing company. This company needed a dock for the repair of its tugs from time to time. She was taken to Chicago and transformed into a floating dry dock, and is found to admirably answer that purpose.
To make her into a dry dock her bow and stern were squarely sawed off, leaving 150 feet of the main hull. Sluices and valve gates let the water in and out of this hull, which sinks or floats, carrying the tug to be repaired with it. Strange as it may sound, the owners claim she freights, as they do odd jobs for other vessels than their own.
And this is the degrading end of what was once the fastest and best pleasure palace on the entire chain of lakes.
Milwaukee Library Scrapbook
May 24, 1897
. . . . .
The old excursion steamer CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE has not yet closed her days of usefulness. She is now being dismantled at Chicago and her hull is to be turned into a floating dock on which vessels of light draught can be repaired. All of the machinery of the old craft that was not taken out last fall, was taken out last week and the steamer turned over to Jacob Hansen, who will complete the transformation. The lower portion of the old hull is in a very fair state of preservation. It is recalled that the floating dock now in use by the Chicago branch of the Great Lakes Towing Co., for repair work on its tugs was formerly the hull of the old BENJAMIN WADE.
Milwaukee Library Scrapbook
June 17, 1900
Screw B.F. WADE. U. S. No. 2156. Of 715 tons. Built Newport, Mich., 1862. Abandoned 1875.
Merchant Steam Vessels of the U. S. A.
Lytle Holdcamper list 1790 to 1868
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- history (B.F. WADE ?)
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- William R. McNeil
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- Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes