Maritime History of the Great Lakes

Scanner, v. 26, no. 2 (November 1993), p. 6

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Ship of the M o n t h No. 207 6. WINONA Last month, we featured as our Ship of the Month a ste e l - h u l l e d freighter w hi ch dated from the 1880s. A ccordingly, in an effort to vary the types of ve sse ls featured, we have chosen this m o n t h a small, w o o d e n - h u l l e d passenger steamer from the early T w e n t i e t h Century. And, once again, the s uggestion for this feature article came from one of our loyal readers. In the beginning, we had not thought that we ever would be able to obtain enough i n f o r m a t i o n about this boat to consider w r i t i n g a d e t a i l e d hist o r y of her, but the more we thought about it, the more we realized that we just might be able to obtain the assi stance we w ould require from w i t h i n the ranks of the T. M . H . S. members, and that we just might be able to pull off the project. That, dear readers, is p r e c i s e l y what came to pass. So read on, and you will d i s co ve r the little steamer WINONA, w h i c h u n d o u b t e d l y will be a complet e strange r to almost all of you when you b e g i n our story. We hope that, by the time you have finished read i n g it, you will u n d e r s t a n d just how important this ve sse l was to the people whose lives she touched. WINONA, or ig i n a l l y en rolled at Port Stanley, Ontario, under official number C . 94717, was a double-deck pass enger p r opellor built of oak. She was co n s t r u c t e d over the winter of 1901-1902 at Port Stanley, on the north shore of Lake Erie, by vessel owner and s h i p b uilder Capt a i n John Ellison, and she was la unc hed on Wednesday, May 28th, 1902. Her c o n s t r u c t i o n had been c o m m i s sioned by The N a vigation C o m p a n y of Port Stanley, in which builder Ellison held a large interest. The WINONA, as built, was 1 0 0 . 2 feet in length, 2 2 . 7 feet in the beam, and 6. 8 feet in depth, with her tonnage c a l c u l a t e d as 2 3 0 . 54 Gross and 1 4 8 . 59 Net. Power to turn WINONA's screw p r o p e l l e r was p r o v i d e d by a fore-a nd-aft co m po un d engine which had cylinders of 12 and 24 inches diameter and a stroke of 16 inches, w hich pr oduced 24 Nomi n a l Horsepower. The engine was built in 1902 by the Doty Engine Works, of Goderich, Ontario. Steam for the engine was pr ovided by a boiler which was fired w i t h wood, but we have no de tails c on ce rn ing the boiler itself. W I N O N A was completed in Augus t of 1902, and i m m e d i a t e l y was placed in the local ex c u r s i o n trade on Lake Erie. She was a handsome boat, with a pleasing sheer to her hull. She had a straight stem and a co unter stern, and she was equ ip pe d with stocked anchors which were carried f o r w a r d on the m ain deck, the chains feeding out through hawseholes in the b u l w a r k s near the stem. The ma in deck was completely en closed by a cabin built out to the sides of the ship, wi th a p ronounced gunwale at d eck level, and another rub-rail at the w a i s t - h i g h level of the top of the bulwarks. There were a number of large wi ndo ws in the main deck cabin, and also there were two big gangways in each side, p ermitting the b o a rding of p a ssengers as well as the loading of supplies, fuel for the boiler, and any freight that might happen to be available. We have no idea what the layout of the m ain deck cabin might have been, but the purser's office would u n d o u b t e d l y have been placed there, as well as that of the chief steward (if he even had an office). Some of the crew's ac c o m m o d a t i o n s were almost certainly there, and hard aft there p r o b a b l y was located a small diningroom. The upper or promenade deck was open all the way around, with a wood post rail co ver ed with wire mesh. Shade was p r o v i d e d by the boat deck above, and there was a r e latively small enclosed cabin in the central area of the pr ome nad e deck. There was a tall steering pole a t t ached to the upper end of the sternpost at the forward e x tremity of this deck, and from this pole a large flag sometimes was flown. On the boat deck were wh ic h were wo rk ed with located the two wo o d e n lifeboats, one on each side, radial davits. The forward end of the boat deck, in

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