Monday, November 05, 2007


Who am I?

The ship was built in 1901 at Lorain, Ohio by the American Ship Building Company. She was acquired by the Interlake Steamship Company in 1913 and converted to a crane ship in 1927. The ship was sold several times during the next 20 years before being purchased in 1958 by the Steel Products Steamship Company. The ship was renamed Steel Products at that time. In 1961, she was sold to Marine Salvage, Ltd. in Port Colborne, Ontario for scrapping. On the way there, the ship broke the tow line and partially sank at Point Abino, Ontario. The Venus never went any further and was scrapped on that spot during the winter of 1961.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here we go again. The bow and pilot house remind me of the old Columbia fleet, specifically the "crane boats", and there are two cranes on the deck of this freighter, one fore and one aft.
My old photos of those boats show some with two cranes, and some with one ( I remember these old-timers tooling down the Detroit River) but the stern mast is forward of the funnel rather than behind it in my 3 photos of those with two cranes as depicted in this photo.
Still searching.
the rock

November 07, 2007 8:18 AM  
Blogger Ookpik said...

Hi Rock,

Based on your comments, I came up with the following three possibilities: Elba, W.C. Richardson and the Leonard B. Miller, which would have been known as the Charles W. Galloway at the time of the photo. What do you think of those guesses?

November 07, 2007 8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those three vessels had larger pilothouses than the photo shows. Elba otherwise comes close, as does another vessel not mentioned,the Cambria, but, again, they had larger pilot houses.

I would go with still another old-timer, the William H. Donner, from the Bethlehem fleet. Two deck cranes, both masts are "where they should be", and the Donner's older-style pilothouse(including those rounded portholes ) sure matches Greenwoods photo.

November 09, 2007 12:42 PM  
Blogger Ookpik said...

Hi Rock,

Thanks for looking into my guesses! While the ship may indeed be the William H. Donner, I do not think it is for the following reason. The original photographer took the majority of the ship pictures in 1946 and 1949. The William H. Donner did not receive her cranes until 1956. Of course, the possibility of the picture being taken several years later does exist. However, with this year constraint in mind, I found three ships that may be our Mystery Ship – the Clifford F. Hood, Harry T. Ewig and the O.S. McFarland. Unfortunately, I am unable to find a satisfactory picture of any of the three ships on the Internet.

November 09, 2007 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi yourself ookpik!
That's why I went anonymous!!!
The Hood won't work as she too had a larger pilot house and the stern mast was placed foreward of her stack.
I checked my photos of the Ewig and the McFarland from one of Greenwood's old guides, and I would rule out the Ewig because of her taller, narrower stack. Masts are correct location, however.
You may have a winner in the McFarland, as Greenwood says she was converted to a crane ship in 1940 and everything else appears correct---smaller pilot house, location of masts, etc.
Even the old Buckeye(I) fits the profile, though she was a tad longer. I don't like buckeyes anyway, (We play them next week) so I am going to declare you the winner.
And we will keep in mind that these photos were taken before 1950. We are going back in history. I did not really start watching these boats til 1956 when I worked on Mackinac Island and got quite interested. But I am sure they were all around then.

November 10, 2007 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a clear photograph of the O. S. McFarland, taken prior to its conversion, that would seem to confirm that the ship in question is the O. S. McFarland with only some minor exceptions that may be accounted for by alterations made during its conversion. The name near the bow in my photograph begins with the M appearing under the forth porthole from the bow and the name near the stern is immediately aft of the rise in the ship's side. Although difficult to make out in the posted photograph, the location of the names appear to be significantly different. Also, the shipping company's emblem on the stack is not apparent in the posted photograph.

April 14, 2008 8:25 AM  
Anonymous The Rock said...

My 1953 Red Book shows the Venus was being operated by Boland and Cornelius, and if that's the proper time frame when the photo was taken, then we should be able to see the familiar silver and red bands on the funnel.
I think a few of us probably could not decipher what was on the funnel as it did not appear very clear in the photograph, and so we went more by the pilot house which brought us to the McFarland (which operated under an entirely different line.)
Although profiles are important, the first thing I usually look at is the funnel to help in the identifying process.

February 22, 2009 4:28 PM  
Blogger Ookpik said...

Hi Rock,

Thanks for your input! 1953 is about right for the time frame, perhaps a bit earlier. Unfortunately, the photo is not very clear and details such as the funnel are not distinct. I was able to identify the ship by examining the negative with a very bright light and a high-power magnifying glass. The name Venus was now readily apparent.

February 26, 2009 6:53 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

I have a photo of the Harry T. Ewig, which is marked in very large letters "The Columbia Transport Co." (all the way down the side). The cranes are in the right place, but if the mystery ship was never part of the Columbia fleet, it certainly wasn't the Ewig.

April 13, 2010 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pretty sure thats the william h donner :)

May 10, 2012 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Dad was a cook on the Venus.

November 23, 2012 9:37 PM  

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