The LYMAN M. DAVIS, which rode triumphant through Great Lakes gales for more than half a century, was destroyed today as the feature show in a Sunnyside holiday spectacle.
Burned to the water's edge and wracked by the explosions of powerful fireworks, the stout little schooner, which was born in a Muskegon shipyard 61 years ago, was towed to deep water shortly before 2 A.M. and sank by a dynamite charge in her bottom.
Only when the final act sent the vessel, hot and steaming, beneath the quite ripples of the outer bay, did the last of the many thousands of persons leave the amusement park. For more than an hour the great crowd stood fasinated by the roaring flames. They were more than fire-struck. They were held by the same type of spell which in olden days drew morbid crowds to the public Toronto hangings.
Even the most thoughtless of the watchers saw in the sinking vessel something more than the destruction of an inanimate thing. They had a feeling that out in the centre of the oil fed flames, the bursting bombs and roaring rockets, a personality, and what, until then, had been a living memory of inland sailing fleets, was quickly dying.
As a spectacle, the schooner's burning was eminently satisfactory. The deck and holds had been piled high with dry wood and tinder like crates on Thursday, from a Western Gap pier head. Even in that the vessel's destruction had the character of an execution. She was made to take that last short voyage, even as a condemned person is made to walk to the gallows, and she did in the ignominious tow of a sooty tug.
On the deck and in the rigging fireworks experts had placed powerful bombs and rockets. The last property for the fire set was placed late last night when men poured eight barrels of coal-oil through the ship.
Shortly before midnight a tug towed the LYMAN M. DAVIS from the Sunnyside anchorage, to a point about 300 yards beyond the sea-wall. The tug held her there at the length of a great cable.
The fire was set almost on the hour, and in a few moments the flames had roared along the oil trail from stem to stern and to the tops of her slender masts. As the fire burned into her vitals, the bombs and rockets were ignited.
The explosions fanned out great sheets and sparks and out from the burning ship rockets rose high and cut into the darkness of the upper sky.
All that remained of the schooner was towed out into deep water before the flames reached the waterline. To the late-stayers there came the sound of a muffled explosion. The fire again flared high and then quickly died into blackness.
The LYMAN M. DAVIS had ceased to amuse
June 30, 1934
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Schooner LYMAN M. DAVIS. U. S. No. 15934. Of 195.35 tons gross; 185.59 tons net. Built Muskegon, Mich, 1873. Home port, Muskegon, Mich. 123.0 x 27.2 x 9.4.
Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1885
Canadian Number C 130436