Images by R. Jenkins
RIDGETOWN, C.305991, Lake Bulk Freighter built in 1905, at a cost of $475,000, by the Chicago Shipbuilding Co., Chicago, IL as Hull #67. Launched June 24, 1905 as a) WILLIAM E. COREY, US.202296, the first flagship for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., Cleveland, OH. 569'loa, 549'x 56'x 31'; 6363 GRT, 5045 NRT. Powered by an 1,800 ihp triple expansion steam engine, 24",39 1/8",65 1/2" dia. x 42" stroke, and two coal-fired Scotch marine boilers, 15'4" x 11'6", with a combined heating surface of 5964 sq.ft. Engine and boilers built in 1905 by the American Ship Building Co., Cleveland. She was the near sistership to the HENRY C. FRICK, ELBERT H. GARY, and GEORGE W. PERKINS. The CORY sailed from Chicago on her maiden voyage August 12, 1905 bound for Duluth, MN to load iron ore. On November 28, 1905 the WILLIAM E. COREY was driven hard aground onto Gull Island Reef in the Apostle Islands in western Lake Superior during what some say was the worst November storm on the Great Lakes. In a very short period of time, temperatures dropped to twelve degrees F below zero and winds reached hurricane force. Three days of seventy to eighty mile per hour winds, blinding snow showers and mountainous seas wrecked thirty vessels with a loss of seventy-eight lives. After taking a terrible beating, a monumental effort was required to free her. At one time the salvage force included 158 men, four steamers (MANOLA, MARINA, SIR WILLIAM SIEMENS and DOUGLASS HOUGHTON) and the tugs EDNA G. and GLADIATOR. On December 10, 1905 the CORY finally was pulled free and refloated. The cost of salvage and repairs totaled $100,000. During the ordeal the SIEMENS and EDNA G. also grounded on the same reef, their damage amounted to $6,000. The CORY was reconstructed with 17 hatches on 24' centers which replaced her original 12' center hatches. A new tank top and two coal-fired Babcock & Wilcox water tube boilers, with a heating surface of 6980 sq.ft., were installed in April 1937. New tonnage; 6485 GRT, 5118 NRT, 10,950 dwt. The WILLIAM E. COREY was laid up at Duluth early in 1960 until she was sold to Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., and placed into British registry; London, England in July 1963 and renamed b) RIDGETOWN. In 1965 she was registered Canadian to Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., Toronto, Ont. Canadian tonnage: 7637 GRT, 5362 NRT, 11,300 dwt. The RIDGETOWN operated regularly until November 17, 1969 when she was laid up at Toronto with a load of grain. She was sold in May 1970 to the Canadian Dredge & Dry Dock Co. Ltd. of Toronto. On June 1, 1970 the RIDGETOWN was towed to Port Colborne, Ont. where she was loaded with stone and was towed to Nanticoke, Ont. to form a temporary breakwall during the construction of the Ontario Hydro Power Plant. The de-activated steamers LACKAWANNA and KINSMAN VENTURE were also used as temporary breakwalls there. After being raised, the RIDGETOWN was towed by the tugs SALVAGE MONARCH and HELEN M. McALLISTER to Toronto on September 5, 1973 where she spent the winter. On June 21, 1974 the RIDGETOWN was loaded with stone and again sunk as a breakwater at the entrance to Port Credit Harbour (on the north shore of Lake Ontario just west of Toronto) with her cabins and stack still in place. She remains there to this time. The registry for the RIDGETOWN was closed on June 19, 1974.
Information from Ahoy & Farewell II