Jul 10-01

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2001: July: Jul 10-01
Cruise ship from the past    ...scroll down to share comments
photo by Nancy Nelson

Nancy Nelson on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 06:46 am:

Charlie -

...I was going to ask if you might be interested in starting a "Look What I Found in a Shoebox" page once in a while. I think it would be something that would appeal to some of us who lived in the area MANY years ago, and check in to the site almost daily for a dose of what we miss. Of course the reason the idea hit me is because I found this picture. The South American came in to Houghton once a week, and those of us who were in the Houghton High School band in the 50's went down and serenaded the passengers. At the end of the summer season, we drove to Munising and spent the day aboard the ship. It was truly elegant, and made for an exciting day for us. When we were too young to play in the band, we hawked bits of copper ore as souveniers.

Nancy Nelson

By Charlie and Edie Hopper, traveling on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 07:12 am:


Thanks for providing the Pasty Cam the last couple of days, as my wife and I are traveling downstate. Today's shot is especially timely, as there is a cruise ship on it's way to the Copper Country, but has been delayed due to some inspection complications.

We loved your thimbleberry blossoms yesterday, too.

By TBush, Royal Oak on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 08:11 am:

Is the South American the ship that ultimately ended up in Muskegon? For many years there was a ship in Muskegon that was going to be remodeled to sail the Great Lakes but was finally scraped. I remember looking across Muskegon Lake at a ship and this picture reminds me of it.

The cruise ship that was delayed in Windsor (Detroit) was delayed due to sanitary reasons. I am glad the inspectors are doing their job so that the people who do cruise to the Copper Country remain healthy and can enjoy the sights and tastes.

By Granny - Stephenson on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 09:04 am:

I thought the boat was the South American. When it came to Munising our high school band also marched down to the dock and played a serenade for the passengers. I was in the band in the late 40's and we looked forward to these little concerts.

Thanks for the memories! Also thank you for the many lovely pictures. I had been wondering what thimbleberries and their flowers looked like. Pasty.com is one of the first stops when the internet is turned on.

By DT on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 10:46 am:

The cruise ship Arcadia isnt coming anymore, from failing the inspections many people cancelled their bookings and the company went bankrupt. The ship is in the Soo and the passengers are being bussed back to Detroit.

By A Yooper Finn on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 11:06 am:

Great old photo of that fine ship! I remember in the '60s we used to park at the Bosch Brewery in Houghton and wait for the South American to pass.
The brewery and the ship always greeted each other with their whistles. Excellent idea... shoebox memories!

By Joe F. - Missouri on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 02:07 pm:

The South American would dock in Houghton on Tuesday night about 7:00 pm. My Dad who worked for Vollwerth & Co. would deliver meat to the South American. I remember going with him and the ships cook would always give us a slice of fresh baked pie. It was such a treat for a little kid. Fond memories of the Copper Country. I like the idea of shoebox memories.

By Joan from Florida on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 04:15 pm:

To check out the Center for Disease Control's inspectional findings of the Arcadia and other cruise ships visit the CDC's site at;
www.cdc.gov Then click on Traveler's Health and then on Cruise Ships & Air Travel.

By K. Denomme on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 04:18 pm:

Great photo! I found this interesting article on the ill-fated modern day version of the South American, The Arcadia.


By Nancy Nelson, WI on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 05:02 pm:

I don't really know the ultimate fate of the South American. I think for a while there was talk of restoring her, but it never came to pass.
There was a sister ship called the North American which sailed a different route. Don't know what happened to that one, either. Does anyone out there know what happened to these lovely ships?

By Janie on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 05:37 pm:

Neat picture!! I am interested in ships present and back in time. The history that goes behind them is so fascinating. We do not have anything like them here in east central Iowa, so needless to say if there's any more photos of them to share,bring them on!!

By Jack Fritz on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 06:09 pm:

Check out this color picture of the South American
I found surfing the internet a couple of years
ago. Also history and stats . I remember it well
(HHS class of 1962)


By chrisingr, MI on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 06:40 pm:

I think the ship you are referring to from Muskegon is either the Aquarama or the Milwaukee Clipper(which is there now). I found some links that have histories of both the North and South American, the Aquarama and the Clipper.


By Bill Denning, Texas on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 07:42 pm:

Wow, this picture sure has generated a lot of comments in a short period of time! Thanks for posting it.

Both the North and the South American are gone, the former having sunk while under tow in the Atlantic Ocean, and the latter ultimately being scrapped. Their story is well told on the Web pages mentioned above at the Marine Historical Society of Detroit --- thanks for posting those links.

Since there seems to be interest in Web pages pertaining to Great Lakes shipping as a whole, here are a few more links:

http://www.northernlakesonline.com/Explorer/Lakes/MaidFitz/FitzMaid1.htm is a short article by a Hubbell native who worked on the Edmund Fitzgerald during its maiden season. If you go up to the main page of the Web site, http://www.northernlakesonline.com, there is a live cam shot at the Soo locks.

http://www.duluthshippingnews.com/dailyschedule.html lists information on freighters that call on Duluth, and there is an extensive collection of photos.

http://www.cp.duluth.mn.us/~jaho/ is the personal Web page of Duluth native Jody Aho, who has pages with plenty of photos of Great Lakes freighters, as well as "on the road" shots taken on various highways in northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and the U.P.

http://www.greatlakesphotos.com/ is full of photos taken by Frank Frisk, a working Great Lakes seaman.

http://www.bb62museum.org/usnavmus.html is a list of marine museums around the country, listed alphabetically by state.

I'll write a second message about some personal memories below, as this one is already pretty long.

By Mary G. on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 08:00 pm:

Great picture Nancy. I was in the Twin City Band also and have great memories of playing every Tuesday night. Remember the trombone playing crew member who would come off the boat and play Tiger Rag. Also remember walking up the hill to the Houghton High School to divide up the change the passengers and crew would throw down to us. The one trip I will never forget was a rough wild lake on the way back to Houghton - lots of sick kids and plates, etc., flying off tables.
What great memories. We also played on the street corners on Friday nights - not in the Winter|

By Nancy Nelson, WI on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 10:10 pm:

WOW--Didn't know I would generate so much interest in those two ships, but I thank all who sent sites for us to explore, especially chrinsinger--thank you for the sites that cleared up for me what was the final fate of the ships--I guess they were beautiful in their time, but not worth what it would have cost to bring them up to modern day standards. Maybe memories are best left to those of us who share them.

By Jack Fritz,CA on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 12:55 am:

Sorry my previous post with a web location for a South American picture and stats got messed up. Corrected below


By TBush, Royal Oak on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 08:08 am:

You really did wake a number of us up Nancy. I believe Chrisingr is correct about the ship in Muskegon Lake during the 60's. The Clipper was still running at that time but the Aquarama was tied up in dock. Thanks for refreshing my memory and for the great sites to look up.

By Tim in Oscoda, MI on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 11:44 am:

Wow...guess all these posts prove how shipping is so tied into the UP mystique!

By DT on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 01:15 pm:

I dont know how you could list all those links and not put the best shipping link there is.

By Roger Pietila, Howell, MI on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 03:26 pm:

I remember this ship from my youth. We would be at grampa's camp on Portage Lake, in Chassell, and when the South American would go by on the other side of the lake, we would run and get our swimsuits on so we could ride the waves when they came in! The waves seemed so huge back then!

By Bill Denning, Texas on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 05:34 pm:

Nancy's suggestion about "Look What I Found in a Shoebox" is a great idea. How about a weekly feature, if enough contributors could be found?

Like several other posters above, I went down to see the South American every Tuesday evening at 7:00 in the summer. I was too young to sell pieces of copper & other souvenirs, although I tried to get my parents to let me.

There was one more special aspect to this for my family, as our dinner before these excursions was my mom's homemade strawberry shortcake. Not for dessert, mind you, the _entire_ dinner was strawberry shortcake!!

In the fall of 1952 we moved south to Ann Arbor, which is a fine place to grow up, but no match for the Keeweenaw. But my dad was always keenly interested in ships, and we made several trips down to the docks in Detroit to look at the old side wheelers of the D&C lines, which were no longer in use, but had not yet been scrapped. Maybe I can find some of his photos of them one of these days.

Once or twice we saw the North or South American in port at Detroit. As I recall, during the early 50s the South American made the upper lakes run, while the North American headed east to Buffalo.

As many times as I saw the South American as a child, I never once went on board. But during a family vacation to Georgian Bay, Ontario in the early 60s, we spent a couple of hours aboard the S.S. Keewatin, which was moored at its berth in Port McNicoll, Ontario.

The Keewatin and its sister ship the Assiniboia were operated by the Canadian Pacific Railroad, and had a regular schedule between Port McNicoll and Port Arthur/Fort William, now known as Thunder Bay, with connecting rail service between Port McNicoll and Toronto. They were contemporaries of the North & South American, built in Scotland for service on the Great Lakes.

The Keewatin had a day off in between runs, and we got permission to go all over the ship. It was really beautiful, I think it had triple expansion steam engines, and I remember lovely wood paneling, linen tablecloths in the dining room, and potted palms at the foot of a grand staircase.

I believe that 1966 was the last year that C.P. operated these vessels. I don't know what became of the Assiniboia, but the Keewatin is now a floating museum in Saugatuck, and I hope one day that I can see it again with my family. Has anyone else been there? I would think that it is similar to the South American in many ways.

By Ken from da UP on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 08:28 pm:

When I was a 9 yr old in Houghton Mom would walk us (brother, sister and myself) down to the Cahodas (?) dock. Went aboard the South a few times that summer ('49). Then in '59 it was hard to find a job so ended up in Detroit looking. Didn't find one there either, so an uncle who had known someone at the SIU got me a letter and I got a job on the North American! Sailed that whole summer on the North. It's trip was Chicago to Buffalo, with stops at Mackinaw Island, Detroit, Cleveland, Sarnia, Parry Sound in Georgian Bay, up to the Soo couple times. '59 was the year the St. Lawrence Seaway opened so we made two trips to Montreal with stops at Niagara Falls. That was such a beautiful summer for me. They tied her up at Holland for the winter with the Alabama, and the South. Don't
know why there isn't some sort of cruise line on the Great Lakes. It's a wonderful area, why do people have to go to Florida etc. for cruises? Was so sad to hear that the North sank in the Atlantic and the South was scrapped. I guess the Alabama lost her superstructure and is still a barge in Lake Erie.

By Karen Skoglund Meyer on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 09:24 pm:

Thanks for this wonderful site!! I LOVE the pictures of the SS South American. In 1959 and 1960 I was a waitress on this ship and these pictures bring back SO many memories! The one on Jack Fritz's site is GREAT! Those were memorable Tuesdays in Houghton Hancock! We on the crew would rush off the ship and run to Rex's bar and dance to the jukebox and drink rum and coke...or just coke...and have a great time there! Then we would rush back to the ship and run up the gangway at the last minute as the whistle was blowing!! The High School band was a memorable part of our short stay in this beautiful part of the country! And I have a copper souvenier spoon that I got one of the days I was there! Thanks, Houghton-Hancock!!

By Charlie at Pasty Central on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 11:28 pm:

This page illustrates how the features at Pasty Central have been born over the past 5+ years. Somebody suggests an idea, and BOOM it happens. In fact, almost 100,000 pasties ago somebody emailed me asking "How about you send us some of those pasties we see your residents making?" and the Internet ordering proceedure was born.

"Shoebox Memories" sounds like another great idea. But good ideas only work if enough people come along. Do you have any old pictures you could scan and email us, along with your memories? While we concentrate on Michigan's Upper Peninsula and the Great Lakes region, any related ideas could be explored. (I love those boat links).

Get out those old photos, click here and email them to Shoebox Memories. We'll come up with a way to recognize the effort and creativity of all who participate.

Thanks again, Nancy, for such an interesting glimpse of the past.

By Sue in Phoenix, AZ on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 11:54 pm:

Such childhood memories! I remember thinking it was pretty neat to have the stores open late on a night other than Friday. Growing up in Houghton, it was a a weekly highlight to walk downtown and watch the South American dock, listen to the Twin City Band play, and browse in the stores. I also remember waving goodbye to the passengers, watching the boat sail away in the dark, with its lights reflecting on Portage Lake, and listening to the whistle blow as it communicated back and forth with the lift bridge. Both the Pastycam photo of the South American and the photos on the many great websites suggested sure bring back some fond memories. Thanks to everyone!!

PS - I am continually thankful for being blessed to have grown up in such a truly special place. Your website is the first thing I check every day, both to see the latest Pastycam photo, and to read the messages shared by everyone. Many thanks for providing all of us displaced Yoopers with a slice of home.

By John K. Ann Arbor on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 03:03 am:

Yup, the picture (and comments) do bring back many wonderful memories. Back in the late '50s my family used to vacation at the Blue Top Cabins which were on the south shore of Portage Channel west of Houghton. I remember the South American comming through the channel at night with every deck brightly lit and the band playing. What a wonderful sight! However the real treat for a 7 year old was jumping in the 3 or 4 large waves that were created by the swiftly moving South American.

By TiM Texas on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 08:11 am:

I remember bringing bread down to the ship and actually getting to go on board. There were so many people.

By Sandy Hoyer on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 01:07 pm:

Memories, memories this brings back to me too. Didn't play in the band but briefly but did the copper sales. This is one of the better note generators I've seen in a long time.

No matter what, the Copper Country is home. Transplanted to Minneapolis is what I call it. We were in the CC just recently and it felt good to be home.

Anyway.......... We do bring a little of the UP to the Minnesota State Fair at Grandma's Pasties. Our good friends at pasty.com are baking up a storm. Stop and see us, we've got a couple new flavors this year and get this, all you transplanted Yoopers, VERNOR'S on tap.

See you all on Underwood and Dan Patch across from the Visitors Center and next to the Penny Arcade. Stop and say hi.

Sandy and Chuck

By Scene from last year's Fair on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 08:43 pm:

Pasty Central branch office

Bonnie, WI on Monday, July 16, 2001 - 09:54 am:

I lived in Houghton during WW II when my father was stationed overseas. We lived next door to my paternal Grandparents on Ruby St. I remember my mother taking me downtown to watch a boat and its passengers. I remember seeing the older kids 'hawking their wares'. The passengers would throw coins to shore and I, of course, wanted to gather my share. My mother was afraid I would fall into the water and she kept a tight hold on me. Finally, an older boy saw my dilemna and gave me a quarter! I was thrilled! I was under the impression that the boat was headed for Isle Royale. Is that possible?

By Sandy, UP on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 - 05:29 am:

Growing up as a Troll our greatest expectations were fulfilled at the end of our Senior year when the entire class would get together for three marvelous days on this magnificient ship. Our Senior trip was to take this ship from Detroit to Chicago via Mackinac Island or from Chicago to Detroit. The ship was beautiful, a great time was had by all and the memories are vivid. I'm only sorry that our trip didn't include Houghton.

By Peggy, Northern MN on Saturday, July 21, 2001 - 09:15 pm:

I am excited to see this picture. My senior class of 1966 traveled on the South American from Chicago to Detroit with a stop over in Mackinac Island. I had no idea I could have seen this ship in the Portage in Houghton during my summer visits. Thanks for posting the picture!

By Win Tucker on Thursday, August 16, 2001 - 01:23 pm:

WOW!- This picture really lit up the net. I'm a
Great Lakes buff & really enjoyed all the postings. I sailed on the "North" when my dad relieved the regular ships Doctor for a few weeks. Does Karen Meyer remember when the "North & South American" would both dock at Mackinac Is. and both the ships crews would put on a show at the Grand Hotel? They were beautiful ships in their day.
Yes, the North sank in the Atlantic under tow &
the South was left to rot in Hoboken NJ - finally

By Pat the Okie.. on Saturday, September 8, 2001 - 09:11 pm:

Thank you Nancy Nelson for the great shot of the So. American in the July write-up. It took me back many many years. We also enjoyed running down to the dock when we heard the boat whistle. But in my day the boats were the Tionesta, Juniata and Octorora. That was back in the teens and early twenties. Hoo boy..We made the trip to the Copper Country every summer for 35 or 40 yrs. and always remember the great times up there.Again thanks and will watch for more of your pics.

By Hollis in Wisc. on Monday, September 10, 2001 - 10:57 pm:

Nancy. Enjoyed the pic of the So. American. Lots of pleasant memories in that

By Pattison, Okla. on Monday, September 10, 2001 - 11:13 pm:

To Nancy Nelson. Thanks for the So. American picture. Lots of great memories. In my day the boats were the Tionesta, the Juniata and the Octorora. That was in the teens and early twenties. Over the past fifty or so years we drove to Houghton every Labor dayto visit the grandparents. The Morin family. All gone now but we still have the pleasant dreams. AGAIN MANY THANKS..

By Heidi Strandt, Chicago, IL on Friday, April 19, 2002 - 10:08 am:

Hi all:

I found this message board while looking up history on the SS Aquarama (mentioned somewhere up near the top of the string...).

It's nice to find a Copper Country message board! I have some land in Eagle Harbor on the lake but haven't been able to get up there for over two years now. I miss the beauty and the friendly people.

Don't think I'll ever build on that land. I think it's important to preserve the land in its natural state. But I probably will buy a home someday up there (Chicago is home now).

If anyone is interested, I have an old brochure for the SS Aquarama I'd be happy to scan and send out. My granddad worked as a musician on board and saved some things like the brochure and some writing paper. It's pretty neat. You can email me at woozlemonster@aol.com and I'll happily send it off to you in PDF format or whatever format works best for you (TIFF, JPG, etc.).

Thanks, all for such a lift to my day!

By Bob Tiura, Michigan on Sunday, May 5, 2002 - 12:51 am:

Thanks for the memories. THe Southfield High School (class of 1963) sailed on the South America in May of 1963, from Detroit to Lake Erie to Detroit, and then to Mackinac Island and back to Detroit for a 3-day cruise with Taylor Center (1 day overnight) and Mackenzie High (Detroit) (to Mackinac Island). I also saw the South America in Houghton many times in the '50s and 60's in Houghton.

By D. B. on Friday, August 16, 2002 - 12:27 am:

Hello, I had the pleasure of riding on the Aquarama when I was 7 years old. Although I was very young at the time I remember the experience very well. I have always had a great love for the boat. About 3 years ago I managed to locate it docked in Lackawana NY. I can't tell you how excited I was to see such a treasured part of my childhood experience before my eyes. I would love to find some pictures, memorabilia, or even a sheet of stationary to acquire. If you could provide any of the above, I would appreciate it. I also sincerely hope that someone will recognize the great history that the Aquarama has had. Not just as a great lakes ship, but as a part of war history for the service she did as a carrier for our service men. Lets hope that the Aquarama gets that needed restoration she deserves.
Sincerely, D.B.

By eric michigan on Friday, November 8, 2002 - 04:03 pm:


By Mark Rowe on Tuesday, December 3, 2002 - 11:12 pm:

I belive the South American was cut up for scrap out on the east coast. I recall reading some organization attempted to save her but it never happened. I don't recall where but I do remember seeing pictures that were taken about ten to fifteen years ago of her in very sad condition.

By Marlene Rachwitz on Sunday, February 2, 2003 - 12:37 pm:

My father played trumpet in the band on the South American. I remember as a child he would take me and my brother for a short tour of the ship to the smoke stack. After he quit the band, we would always go down to the foot of the Boulevard in Detroit to watch her dock. I beleive he quit the band after I was born.

By Jane Gibson, Iowa on Monday, March 3, 2003 - 11:41 am:

I worked for two summers on the Aquarama - 1955 and 1956. The first summer we docked at the end of Navy Pier in Chicago and sailed out into Lake Michigan twice a day, offering meals, drinks, dancing. The second summer we toured the Great Lakes, getting as far East as Buffalo, NY. We would stay a week or so at each city: Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, etc. It was a wonderful experience for a college student. (fifty of us from the University of Iowa and fifty from Purdue). The ship ultimately became a ferry on the Great Lakes, then was dry docked somewhere, apparently unusable.

By Michael M. McKone on Friday, June 4, 2004 - 10:21 pm:

For a brief period, my dad worked for the Georgian Bay Lines, and my mom and I sailed on both the North American and the South American between Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago (including Mackinac). I think it was 1937 - I'm just not sure, but those ships seemed like the most beautiful things in the world to me, and your picture is most welcome.

By mtr, ny on Wednesday, June 30, 2004 - 12:13 am:

i have recently had the opertunity to explore the vessel known as the s.s. aquarama which is located in buffalo ny, and would be happy to take pictures and gather items found for people interested.

By Harriet Coburn on Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 11:22 pm:

I worked on the North American for four years from 1948 thru the summer of 1950. My first three years I combined being a waitress and singing solos with the "crew show" which provided entertainment for the passengers. The last year I went back as assistant cruise director leading the morning hikes around the deck and conducting the "horseracing" games. That last summer my future husband met me on Saturdays when we docked in Chicago and eventually had to take a week's cruise in order to propose and present me with a engagement ring.
In 1949, The Chicago Daily News printed a picture of me as "Indian Summer Queen " of the great Lakes in a bathing suit and Indian headdress. During the time I worked on the Great Lakes I saved my money to attend MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois and majored in Voice. I got my Mrs. degree in September of the last year 1950. Harriet Rogers Steele Coburn

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