The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 2 Sep., 1906

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. . .Weather conditions could not have been more nearly ideal for an event of the sort. Cloudless skies and a temperature sufficiently low to make a sun bath on the deck comfortable greeted the party which boarded the engineer corps boat Hancock at her dock in this city. The sail to the southerly end of the ship canal was thoroughly delightful, and by the time the Hancock arrived at her destination, all hands were thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the occasion.


The big freighter [B. F. Jones] which had been assigned the honor of the initial passage through the new cut awaited the Hancock just off the entrance, and the major part of the latter's passengers boarded her for the christening voyage. Just at 12:46 the Jones entered the cut and for the next fifteen minutes, the atmosphere in the vicinity was rent into small fragments by the whistles of tugs, dredges, launches and freighters. Every variety and shade of tone was represented, from the shrill soprano of compressed air launch tooters to the hoarse bass of the big steamers. Capt. Charles L. Wilson, the veteran skipper of the Hancock, was tendered the honor of piloting the Jones on the trip, which left Capt. Ennis with all his time to attend to the manipulation of the whistle, a task which was by no means easy in view of the fact that the Jones made and effort to respond to all the courtesies extended her.


On some of the dredges the engineers had evidently gone into special training for the event, and the manner in which they manipulated their noise producers would have turned a circus calliope player green with envy. One particular artist whose whistle was pitched somewhere in the vicinity of high C, rendered what was said by some to be the "Star Spangled Banner" with variation.

It is said that the dredge was out of commisiion for the remainder of the afternoon because there wasn't enough steam left to run the engine.

The Hancock and a small tug named the Dragon, so-called probably on account of her vivid green paint, followed the Jones through the cut and kept up a whistling which spoke volumes for the energy of their stokers.

During the passage the christening party occupied places on the bridge of the Jones, exchanging hat and handkercheif jubilations with the spectators along the shore. Several men in the party could recall the opening of the old cut in 1872, among those present who witnessed that event being Col. G. J. Lydecker, who was stationed at Detroit at the time.


The history-making trip ended at the Old Club dock, at which Capt. Ennis made as neat a landing as though his vessel were a twenty-foot launch instead of a leviathan nearly 600 feet in length. The disembarkation of the party afforded considerable amusement to the guests at the Old Club, the descent from the towering Jones to the wharf being effected by the feminine guests with the accompaniment of unlimited shreiks and squeals.

After the Jones had gone her way up the river, the Hancock picked up the party and proceed up stream on a pleasure trip. Luncheon was served on board, and the party arrived in Detroit on the return trip at about 6 o'clock. . . .

Media Type:
Item Type:
NOTE: This is a portion of a half-page article on the dedication and celebration of a new channel near Bois Blanc (Bob-Lo) Island, in the Detroit River, in the late summer of 1906. 
Date of Original:
2 Sep., 1906
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Dave Swayze
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 2 Sep., 1906