Floating History

For two weeks the SS Keewatin, the last of the Edwardian era steamboats existing in the world, was moored at our State dock. She was tugged here from Douglas, Michigan where she was a museum ship since 1967.The 350 feet long, 280 luxury passenger, Keewatin was built in Scotland in 1905 and was launched in 1907. She was owned by the Canadian Pacific Railroad for the purpose of connecting eastern Canada with western Canada via the Great Lakes. She would sail from her home, Port McNicholl, Ontario on the Georgian Bay in Lake Huron to Port Arthur ( now Thunder Bay) in Lake Superior. The 105 year old ship carried passengers in luxury for 60 years without loss of life.
Seeing her was like peaking into the past. I stood on the dock just looking at her. One could imagine standing on the shore and waving good-by to loved ones as they left for their trip through the Great Lakes. I looked up at the large white hooks that once held the life boats, and was trying to imagine what travel must have been like. I could almost see the ladies in their Victorian travel suits accompanied by their husbands smoking a cigar, dressed in three piece suits and derby hats. It was a time of propriety and a more genteel time. I watched the Keewatin being tugged across the straits between Mackinac Island and Round Island. If she would have sailed through here in her time, the Round Island Lighthouse would have been in service and the bridge would not have been in existence. I could imagine other steamships like her, delivering passengers to Mackinac Island for the summer. It was a moment in history that we will never see again. The SS Keewatin arrived at home in
 Port McNicholl, Ontario exactly 100 years to the day after she left, on June 23, 2012 to a rousing welcome by hundreds of boats and a replica of the War of 1812 British warship, The Badger. The SS Keewatin   is a piece of history that will be preserved for future generations to get a glimpse of a by gone era.

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