Steamship J. B. Ford 2022 the Final Year

The Steamship J. B. Ford last year of scrapping would be 2022. Towards the end of August no more hull would be resting in the slip. Items on shore were separated by steel and cast iron and further broken up for potential buyers of scrap metal. In November 2022 at the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association fundraiser this web site was promoted at a table. Going forward the promotion of two Steamship J. B. Ford books will help those interested in Great Lakes bulk freighters that operated from the transition period of wood to steel hulls and sail to steam power. These books may also be of help to those diving similar vessel wrecks such as the Superior City(fleetmate in 1920), and John B. Cowle. table at the 35th Gales of November event
on 12 November 2022. A 1965 life jacket was displayed during the event.
In late August 2022, the rest of the bow section was cut up and no more vessel was floating.

The place to visit going forward is Buffalo Harbor Museum to view the ship’s sign board, and to research vintage photographs of the J. B. Ford, E. C. Collins, and of her sister ship MacGilvray Shiras. Buffalo Harbor Museum also has a large collection of work orders from when Old Man Boiler Works serviced the ship in the 1960’s.

Several small Steamship J. B. Ford items were donated for silent auction at the 35th Gales of November fundraising event. A winning bid of $35.00 scored some vessel forms, coat rack, soap dish, and tooth brush holder,
from this historic vessel.

The Milwaukee Public Library also has a large collection of photographs as well as two
E. C. Collins log books.

The more hands on display is that of her steam whistle at Harsens Island Historical Society in Michigan( Guest may use this to salute passing lake freighters travelling the river.

The insert shows whom this whistle is dedicated to. The museum was gifted this in 2017 the same year the J. B. Ford was abated and portholes were removed from the ship to be offered for sale.

The above book shows when all vessel artifacts including the name board and whistle were onboard. The Chicago Maritime Society along with the Illinois Port Authority, and Lafarge North America allowed this vessel to be a museum for one day with 30 guest. Six years later a Chicago paper would write an article that the vessel would be available to become a museum ship, but this, as history shows, would not be the case. The 1904 built passenger ship Juanita later Milwaukee Clipper was preserved in Chicago, then South Chicago(former Chicago Shipbuilding Company Yard), and then off to Michigan where she survives today( There is no other vessel exactly like the J. B. Ford, and her story will be told even after the last bit of metal is melted. The closest examples remain preserved on the bottom for scuba divers to visit and document.

Below a link for a number of videos uploaded to the web. They all share a common thread of the Steamship J. B. Ford, it’s history, news making, and documentation as shared by others whom care to remember this vessel.

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