'Graveyard' Holds Ships
Memories Stirred As
Craft Are Dismantled
ST. CLAIR, Feb. 15 -(AP)- Winding by a St. Clair cemetery in the mud bottom of Pine River lies a graveyard fleet of Great Lake boats. Last month, their rusting hulks shook again with pounding hammers.
But this time, the buried fleet was not being reconditioned. the jutting piles of steel and wood were being removed to make the way safe for summer-sailing pleasure craft.
Crews of men from local boat clubs and other interested residents took the opportunity of lower winter waters to cut away the rotting lumber and huge steel plates.
But it also stirred some memories of the old days when the freighters plied their way up the lakes and back again, loaded with bricks, coal and grain for brewing purposes.
Most of the ships were too old and too small to compete with modern, larger freighters. During the 1920s they were tied up in Pine River where fire and time eventually sank their old hulks.
They included the R.P. Fitzgerald, the Maurice P. Grover, the [S.A.] Irish, the Laketon, the Maude and the E.R. Roberts [sic- probably the E.C. Roberts]. The last -- the Roberts -- is the farthest up the river. It's an old sailing vessel that couldn't compete with steam.