September 14, 1907: Maiden voyage of the ore boat Ward Ames

On this day in Duluth in 1907, the ore boat Ward Ames departed Duluth on its maiden voyage, carrying 10,101 gross tons of iron ore—lighter than her capacity due to the shallowness of some of the rivers that connected the Great Lakes at the time. The Ames was the third vessel built by the Acme Steamship Company, owned by Duluth’s Captain August B. Wolvin. The first was named after Wolvin himself (and nicknamed “The Yellow Kid” due to its bright paint job) and the second was called the James C. Wallace. Together, the Duluth News Tribune reported, the three Acme vessels “have an aggregate carrying capacity at one trip equal to that of 12 of the lake carriers of 15 years ago.” Wolvin retired in 1911 and three years later the Interlake Steamship Co. purchased all three vessels. In 1916 the Ames was rechristened as the C. H. McCullough, Jr. and was stranded on Lake Superior at Corbeil Point, Ontario the following May. The Ames/McCullough plied the Great Lakes until she was scrapped in 1980. The Wallace was scrapped 1963 and the Wolvin in 1967 Wolvin’s office block, now known as the Missabe Building, still stands in downtown Duluth. Ward Ames was a prominent member of Duluth’s Board of Trade and business partner of Julius Barnes; McCullough was the vice president of the Lackawana Steel Company.

The ore boat Ward Ames. (Image: Great Lakes Vessel Index)