The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Cormorant (Propeller), fire, 30 Oct 1907

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From the day in 1873 when tile bulk freighter CORMORANT slid down tile ways at Cleveland, Ohio, the ship was a regular and busy traveler on the lakes. Her 218-foot-long oak hull was as common a profile as the sea bird for which it was named, so was barely noticed as it sliced its way, making regular trips from port to port, hauling grain, coal, lumber and ore.
The only headlines the CORMORANT ever received happened on the day she burned to a fiery death near Bass Island on Lake Superior.
It happened on Oct. 30, 1907, while, the steamer was in its 34th year of service. The boat was steaming across the big lake without cargo, with the schooner HELVETIA in tow. There were different stories about what happened. None gave a clear account of the fire.
The Duluth Herald said the CORMORANT, commanded by Captain K. McKenzie, put in at Bayfield early in the day to drop off the HELVETIA, then continued oil her way, toward Duluth.
Other stories said the HELVETIA and CORMORANT were traveling together to Duluth. John O. Greenwood, in his book Namesakes, said the CORMORANT was anchored on the north side of Bass Island, loading rough logs, when the fire broke out.
Nobody recorded the cause of the fire. When efforts to extinguish the blaze were unsuccessful. the crew of five men and three women were removed by a tug. Nobody was hurt.
The steamer sank, but the hull was raised and towed to Duluth about a month later, where the
machinery was salvaged. The CORMORANT was owned by the Hines Lumber Company of Chicago. (Author James Donahue shipwreck articles ran once a week in paper.)
      Port Huron Daily Tribune
      January 20, 1997

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: fire
Lives: nil
Freight: nil
Remarks: Raised, engine salvaged
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Wisconsin, United States
    Latitude: 46.85021 Longitude: -90.7463
William R. McNeil
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Cormorant (Propeller), fire, 30 Oct 1907