SS Keewatin, the Last Edwardian Era Steamship, Left Saugatuck, Michigan

For Japanese, please click here (日本語はこちらをクリック)!

In my post, Saugatuck is Michigan’s Cap Cod (in Japanese only), I have a few photos of the big ship, SS Keewatin. The ship was on display for a long time in Douglas, Saugatuck’s next door town.  If you have been to Saugatuck, did you go see SS Keewatin?  If you did not, you missed a chance.  The ship is gone back to Ontario, Canada.

I did not see the departure myself, but I got an e-newsletter from Saugatuck that the ship departed Saugatuck on May 31, 2012, for Port McNicoll in Ontario, Canada via Mackinac strait. Port McNicoll was its original home port for SS Keewatin.  The ship was in Saugatuck, Michigan for 45 years!

SS Keewatin was built 104 years ago, when gigantic luxury passenger steamships like Titanic were popular. SS Keewatin will be completely renovated in Ontario and will become a maritime museum there.

It was already a museum ship in Saugatuck (photo above). I should have been inside the ship if I had known it would be gone a few years later.  When we went to Saugatuck for a weekend getaway, we stopped over there, but did not bother to pay to go inside the ship.

There will be no more of this sign…

(Source:Google Map)

Marked with A is Port McNicoll; marked with 1 is Port Arthur / Fort William.

When England was under the reign of King Edward VIII from 1901 to 1914, it was popular among the wealthy people to travel by huge luxury passenger steamships.  SS Keewatin was one them built during the Edward era.

My husband’s late grandmother and great-grandfather were wealthy and went on a worldwide trip by a luxury ocean liner. When their ship stopped at Hawaii (in 1914) , the WWI broke out. They had to give up their trip and come home.

(And alas, where did their wealth go?   I don’t see any evidence of the wealth passed down to my husband… 😦

S.S. Keewatin was built in 1907 by a shipbuilding company in Scotland, and ran between Port Arthur / Fort William (in northern Ontario, Canada) and port McNicoll (also in Ontario) for almost 60 years.

I never knew that ships were going back and forth through Lake Huron and Lake Superior, carrying passengers and freights.

And I never imagined one of the ships was quietly sitting in Western Michigan.

If Michigan had done more tourism promotion, more people (including me) would have wanted to come see the ship. My home country, Japan, certainly would have done a lot of PR trying to relate the ship to the Hollywood movie, Titanic (Japanese are very commerically-oriented, I think).  Maybe they would have overdone it (they tend to overdo commercialization). I would not like too much PR, but I feel Michigan could have done a little more promotion…

When the ship was retired in 1966, a local couple in Douglas, Michigan, took a personal loan and bought the ship (how much money in the world did they borrow?). They restored it and opened it to the public for paid tours.  So, the ship was saved by the couple from being scrapped.

The Edwardian era passenger steamship which would have reminded us of Titanic is no longer in western Michigan…I will miss SS Keewatin.  You will, too?

One of the articles about the departure of SS Keewatin:

About tukusigal

もう長いことミシガンに住んでいる日本人オバさんの、自分なり、それなりのミシガン湖地方見聞記でーす。I am a long-time resident of Michigan. I am here forever. A middle-age Japanese woman. I love Imari porcelain, so my profile photo is an Imari vase which I bought in Imari, Saga, Kyushu, Japan. When I retire (when...?), I reveal my photo - but by then I may be too wrinkled (lo).
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2 Responses to SS Keewatin, the Last Edwardian Era Steamship, Left Saugatuck, Michigan

  1. Don Reed says:

    “When England was under the reign of King Edward VIII from 1901 to 1914…”

    Please change. Edward VII ruled England 1901-1910; his son Edward VIII ran away with the dame from Baltimore after only being King for less than one year, in 1936.


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