May 23, 1905: Steamer Tionesta Visits Duluth for the first time

On this day in Duluth in 1905, Captain Charles Christie steered the passenger ship Tionesta through the Duluth Ship Canal under the new Aerial Transfer Bridge for the first time before tying up at Northern Pacific’s No. 4 dock. Despite cold, foggy weather, the next day between six and seven thousand Duluthians took a free tour of the new star of the Anchor Steamship Line, described as a “transatlantic steamship in a lake hull.” The Duluth News Tribune announced the $300,000 vessel was the first of three sister ships of the Anchor Line, and indeed the Tionesta was later joined by the Octorara and Juniata. The paper also boasted the vessel’s amenities, which included a library, music room, social hall, and mahogany paneled dining saloon that sat 137—and, should your hair grow out between Duluth and Buffalo, New York, a barbershop. The 360-foot vessel had a capacity of 350 passengers and left Duluth on May 24 with 275 aboard—at the time a record for the relatively new steamer. Read more about the Tionesta and her sister ships here.

The Tionesta. (Image: Zenith City Press)