Originally published August 2015
August’s Great Lakes Namesake Vessel is the August B. Wolvin, named for Duluth shipping magnate Captain August B. Wolvin, who began his career on the Great Lakes as a cabin boy and concluded it as the general manager of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company, at the time the principal transportation fleet on the lakes, comprised of 112 vessels. In 1902 he built the Wolvin Building at 225-231 West First Street, which still stands today as the Missabe Building. (Learn more about Wolvin here.) The August B. Wolvin isn’t the only steamer named for the good captian; a smaller vessel that steamed the Great Lakes from 1900 to 1916 was christened the A. B. Wolvin.
According to the Great Lakes Vessel Index, the Wolvin was built by the American Ship Building Co. of Lorain, Ohio, in 1904. The freighter was 540-feet long, 56-feet wide with a net tonnage of 5311 tons. Before she was launched and christened as the Wolvin, this vessel was known as the “Yellow Kid,” a popular 1890s comic strip that ran in two New York newspapers. She was first owned by the Acme Steamship Company (the GLVI lists August Wolvin as the company’s manager in 1904), then the Interlake Steamship Company (1913-1966), and finally the Labrador Steamship Company of Canada (1966-1967). The vessel was laid up in Erie, PA, from 1961 to 1966 before having her hull damaged when it scraped the bottom of the Welland Canal in 1966. She was declared a total loss the following year and towed to Santander, Spain, where she was scrapped.