The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Atlanta (Propeller), U106823, fire, 18 Mar 1906

Full Text

Sheboygan, March 18. -- For two hours today the crew of the Goodrich steamer ATLANTA fought fire on board the boat, then abandoned the steamer which burned to the water's edge. One deckhand became confused, fell overboard and was drowned. Two passengers and a crew of 60 were on board at the time. The cook was saved in the nick of time, through a hole chopped in the roof of the pantry. The steamer was valued at $200,000.
The ATLANTA left ?????? at 10 a.m. today bound for Milwaukee. At 11:15 when the steamer was off Port Washington, smoke was seen emerging from a deck ????.
      The crew of 60 and 2 passengers fought the fire but it had gained to much headway. A tug came to the rescue and took off the people and towed the steamer to the beach at ????? bad copy.
      Chicago Inter Ocean
      March 19, 1906

The ATLANTA was one of three wooden propellers built for the Goodrich Transit Company of Chicago, between 1889 and 1891. All three were of similar size and appearance, being about 220 feet long by 40 feet width. The first two, the City of Racine (later Arizona) and the Indiana were built at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, by H. and G. Burger in 1899 and 1890. The contract for the third vessel was awarded to the Cleveland Drydock Company, who delivered the ATLANTA to her owners in 1891.
During most of her career the ATLANTA was commanded by the popular Captain Cornelius McCauley. She operated on the Goodrich west shore line, and also on the Chicago to Muskegon line. She came to an untimely end after fifteen years of service.
While bound down from Green Bay ports to Chicago on March 18, 1906, fire was discovered aboard the vessel when a few miles off Port Washington, Wisconsin. It was a clear morning and her plight was seen by the crew of the fishing tug TESSLER, a short distance away. Some years later one of the tug's crew gave the following account to a newspaper reporter.
The tugmen were lifting a five mile set line, and about the same time they noticed that the Goodrich liner coming in from the north had come to a halt. It started up and then lay still. "There's trouble aboard," said Captain Smith of the TESSLER to his mates. "We'd better run out there." They cut off the line and tied it to a buoy. The strangely acting ship was about two miles away.
The crew of the tug did not discover that the steamer was burning until they got close in. The flames were all on the other side of the ship. "When a boat is afire," Captain Smith said, "it seems to drift broadside to the wind. And it drifts fast. The fire seems to act like a sail."
We had a hard time to get close enough to the ATLANTA to make the rescue. We couldn't get alongside to the leeward. But finally we did get alongside. The people were huddled together on the hurricane deck of the burning ship. We got three lines from our tugboat to this deck. One by one they slid down these lines. Some of them jumped. In a number of cases bones were broken, but it was the best we could do. Among the people rescued were two women.
We had a terrible time to get Captain Con McCauley to leave his ship. When everybody apparently was off and we were anxious to cut loose, he insisted on going back to see if there was not another living person on the boat. I thought sure that he would go into the cabin and stay with the ship until the end. But he finally agreed to come aboard the tug.
At that time there were a number of steamers plying the west shore of the lake. One of them, the GEORGIA, came along and we transferred our shipwrecked passengers to it.
It was fortunate that the fishermen were successful in persuading Captain McCauley to leave the ATLANTA, for Goodrich patrons would sail under his capable leadership for another quarter of a century.
To replace the lost vessel the Goodrich line purchased the steel steamer CHARLES H. HACKLEY from Captain Miles Barry of Chicago. This twin screw steamer, 245 feet long, had been built at Philadelphia in 1892 for the coastwise trade, and had come into the lakes after the Spanish-American War. She was renamed CAROLINA and in the season of 1907 began sailing on the shore line route, commanded by Captain McCauley. Both the CAROLINA and her captain remained with the Goodrich line until its dissolution in the early thirties. McCauley passed away a few years later.
Cornelius McCauley is remembered as one of the outstanding captains of Lake Michigan, of whom there were many. A few like Captain Bright of the Michigan Transit Company, and Captain Carus, who commanded almost all the older Goodrich vessels, still are living. But many others, including McCauley, have, like the ships they sailed, passed on to other horizons. - Rev. Edward J. Dowling S.J.
      Inland Seas
      January 1947 p.49-50

Port Washington, Nov. 2. -- Smith Brothers, of this city, have commenced in the United States Court at Milwaukee an action for salvage against the Goodrich Transit Company, owners of the steamer ATLANTA, which burned off this port on March 18 last. Capt. L. Smith, with his tug TESSLER, was the first to reach the burning vessel and rescued the 62 people on board. The hull of the steamer, which contained much valuable machinery, etc., was then towed to the beach north of this city.
      Buffalo Evening News
      November 2, 1906

      Steam screw ATLANTA. U. S. No. 106823. Of 1,129.17 tons gross; 958.06 net tons. Built Cleveland, O., 1891. Home port, Milwaukee, Wis. 200.1 x 32.3 x 13.6
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1895
Steam screw ATLANTA. U. S. No. 106823. Of 1,129.17 tons gross. Built 1891. On March 18, 1906 vessel burned near Cheboygan, Mich., with 40 people on board. One life lost.
      Loss of American Vessels Reported During Fiscal Year, 1906

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: fire
Lives: nil
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Wisconsin, United States
    Latitude: 43.38722 Longitude: -87.87564
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

Atlanta (Propeller), U106823, fire, 18 Mar 1906