Richard Gebhart traces little-known voyages of Great Lakes ships that sailed the Atlantic beginning in the 1850s. They bore cargoes to and from the lakes and as far as Constantinople. Gebhart recovers the voices of long-ago ship captains, along with their cargo manifests and itineraries. Drawing on deep research in old newspapers and maritime archives, he traces the construction of new ships and shipyards, and the comings and goings and travails of the lakes’ workhorses. Included is a mournful visit to a boneyard where many ships’ lives ended. Among many other lost tales, Gebhart brings to light the rise of oil tankers, marking the great twentieth-century energy transition in shipping. A must-read for Great Lakes shipping fans.
There are numerous, very detailed stories in this well-researched book. Many chapters contain quotes meticulously obtained from microfilmed contemporary newspapers that add fascinating depth to these stories about ships, tragedies, and people. The reader will often feel transported in time to the events as they took place. —Carl Eisenberg, president of the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society
This is a detailed and fascinating look into the lives of some of the vessels that plied the Great Lakes in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It gives the reader a true idea of the dangers that these ships and those who sailed them had to face. It is a series of fascinating stories involving pianos, a severed ear, a shipwreck behind a barn on a farm with a tree growing through it, and John D. Rockefeller Sr. I know the reader will enjoy it. —James Heinz, acquisitions curator, Wisconsin Marine Historical Society