The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Storm Worst in Years; Lake Craft Battle Gale
Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), 10 Nov 1913, p. 1-2

Full Text
Furious Wind Paralyzes Traffic, Isolates Suburbs, Levels Telephone and Telegraph Wires, Destroys Lighting Service, Imprisons Residents
Boats, Manned by Crews Perishing From Cold, Tossed on Wild Waters -- Steamers Held at Docks as Blasts Increase in Intensity


Cleveland was virtually a city of splendid isolation at midnight.

Snowed under, cut off from all telegraph and telephone communication with the outside world, street car service held up in a maze of wrecked poles and miles of swirling wires, not a glimmer of light in scores of its thoroughfares and in hundreds of homes, with the blizzard still raging furiously and continuing its work of devastation and demolition, the situation was without a parallel for the time of the year.

Old residents declared that the storm, in many respects, was the worst within their recollection.

Until day breaks and the full effects of the blizzard are apparent no possible conception can be gathered of the havoc wrought.


The steamer City of Hamilton from Detroit, due in Cleveland at 10 a.m., has not yet arrived at Cleveland and no tidings of her whereabouts are obtainable.

Lashed by waves that all but upended them and wind that blew blinding clouds of snow into the faces of captain and crew, the steamer Isabella Boyce, with the barge J. J. Barlum in tow, battled for hours yesterday morning in an effort to enter Cleveland harbor without being dashed to pieces on the breakwater.

The struggling craft signaled for tugs to bring them into the harbor, but without result, and at 1:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon Capt. Walter R. Pringle, 5122 Woodland Av. S. E., commander of the Boyce, maneuvered his charge through the swirl of water and snow and inside the breakwater. There tugs came to their assistance and relieved the worn sailors.

Declares Storm "Worst Ever."

Capt. Pringle, just closing his first season as a lake captain, stated last night that yesterday's storm was the worst he has experienced in a number of years. The Boyce and the Barlum are owned by the Pringle Barge Line Co.

With the Barlum, light, in tow, the Boyce left St. Clair, Mich., at 2 o'clock Saturday afternoon for this city. Thick weather delayed passage of the craft down the St. Clair and Detroit rivers and after entering Lake Erie the storm struck them.

Off the southeast shoals the real fight between crew and storm began. Snow and rain were hurled at the pitching boats by a northwest wind that shot great waves crashing across the decks. For a time it was feared the Barlum would be lost and twice it all but stood on end. Capt. Pringle and his crew, however, managed to save their charge and Cleveland harbor was reached in a cloud of sleet that cut off view in all directions.

Skillful maneuvering was required during the long fight to pass safely through the breakwater entrance, but the passage finally was made without mishap.

Fish tugs Rowina and Lorain arrived with badly battered deck houses after fighting their way through seas which threatened every moment to swamp the craft.

Mrs. Purdy wife of the captain of the Lorain, had braved the storm and waited anxiously from early morning until the tug arrived at her dock near Main. av and W. 10th-st.

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Date of Publication:
10 Nov 1913
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  • Ohio, United States
    Latitude: 41.4995 Longitude: -81.69541
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Storm Worst in Years; Lake Craft Battle Gale