The steel bulk freighter SYLVANIA was built by the West Bay City Shipbuilding Company for the Duluth Steamship Company managed by G.A. Tomlinson and was launched on March 18, 1905. SYLVANIA had many accidents in her life and her first year was no exception. In June of 1905, she collided with the steamer SIR HENRY BESSEMER off Whitefish Point on Lake Superior putting an 80 foot hole in the BESSEMER. SYLVANIA was repaired at the Craig Shipbuilding Company at Toledo, Ohio.

In 1914, she was renamed b) D.M. PHILBIN and was renamed c) SYLVANIA again in 1929. In 1958, SYLVANIA was lengthened and converted to a self-unloader by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company. This was a prime reason in insuring her longevity. Her new dimensions were: 552.0 x 54.0 x 26.7 feet; 7,352 gross tons.

On June 1, 1967, SYLVANIA was unloading her cargo at the Peerless Cement Company at Port Huron, Michigan. The CSL steamer RENVOYLE had been discharging her cargo at the sheds on Point Edward immediately across from the Peerless Cement dock. The RENVOYLE began her turn-around in the narrow St. Clair River, when the current caught her and she began to swerve into the opposite bank of the river. She struck the SYLVANIA and punched a hole in her side. SYLVANIA, still tied up to the dock, began to list to starboard and sank in a few minutes. There was no loss of life but both steamers were heavily damaged. SYLVANIA was subsequently raised and towed to the AmShip yard at Lorain, Ohio where she was repaired. The RENVOYLE, however, was not as fortunate. Although she did not sink, RENVOYLE was so severely damaged that repairs were deemed inadvisable and she was sold for scrap at Ashtabula, Ohio.

In 1971, SYLVANIA was sold to the Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton Company, who had chartered the vessel since 1969. In 1977, SYLVANIA was relegated to the Lake Erie coal run in which she ended her days. Her final trip was made on May 10, 1980. In her career SYLVANIA had carried over 20 million tons of cargo. On October 31, 1983, SYLVANIA departed Toledo in tow of the tug OHIO for Ashtabula where she arrived the next day for scrapping. Her final remains were put to the torch in 1984. Thus ended 78 years of service and the making some 30 million dollars for her various owners.

b) D.M. Philbin

BUILT: 1905 West Bay City Shipbuilding Co., West Bay City, Michigan GROSS REGISTERED TONNAGE: 6272
LENGTH: 504.0 ENGINES: 23 1/2", 38", 62" Diameter X 42" Stroke
Triple Expansion
BREADTH: 54.0 ENGINE BUILDER: Detroit Shipbuilding Company, 1905
DEPTH: 26.7

SYLVANIA being repaired at Toledo after the collision with SIR HENRY BESSEMER

D.M. PHILBIN entering Duluth Harbor in the ice