The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), Tues., November 7, 1893

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Chicago, November 6. - The elaborate system of electric buoys to the world’s fair grounds will be taken up Wednesday, and the entire plant shipped to New York. Commander Brice, the lighthouse officer who had charge of the buoys, stated to-day that they had proved a complete success. Only two lights failed during the season. One exploded and the other was run down by a steamer. He believed that the experiment showed conclusively that the electric buoy system can be maintained in dangerous passages for long distances. There were thirteen buoys here, extending for a distance of seven miles.

The steamer Arthur Orr is being converted from a world’s fair boat to a freight carrier, and will load her first cargo of grain next Friday.[1]

The Spanish caravels have been placed in the hands of the Dunham Towing Company for safekeeping during the winter, and will probably be taken to South Chicago.[2]

The lighthouse and fog signal to mark the entrance to Chicago harbor was to-day inspected by Commander Brice, and will be accepted by the government. Both the light and the signal will be put into operation November 15. Particular attention has been paid to fog signals, which will be of the greatest benefit to navigators, and the signals, it is thought, will be about the most effective of any around the lakes.

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The Columbian Exposition (i.e. World’s Fair) which took place at Chicago in 1893 had many maritime connections, including replicas of historic vessels from all over the world, a full-scale model of a U.S. battleship built of brick and a number of innovations such as electric boats and the only whaleback passenger ship. As the Fair ended thousands of decisions had to be made as to what was to be done with the leftover wonders.
1. I’m not sure what is meant by "world's fair boat," but likely a passenger steamer. Her well-known configuration as a standard steel package freighter served her until she was broken up in 1947, but this is the first reference I have seen to the earlier incarnation.
2. The ships referred to were full-sized replicas of Christopher Columbus’ discovery vessels. They were built in Spain and sailed to the lakes specifically for the fair.
For an interesting account of the building of the fair, juxtaposed with the story of a horrific crime that took place there, see Erik Larsen’s excellent book The Devil in the White City (Vintage, 2004).
Date of Original:
Tues., November 7, 1893
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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), Tues., November 7, 1893