Scenic USA - Wisconsin

SS Meteor - Barkers Island

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SS Meteor - Barkers Island, Superior, Wisconsin

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     The SS Meteor was one of 44 steam powered, Great Lakes freighters, Seamen of the Great Lakes Memorial - Barkers Island, Superior, Wisconsin built with Captain Alexander McDougall's unusual whaleback steamer design. Constructed in Superior, Wisconsin, the American Steel Barge Company launched the 380 foot ship in 1896. Starting out as the Frank Rockefeller, the original cost was just over 180,000 dollars. Throughout its service on the Great Lakes, the ship changed ownership and names at least six times. Designed to haul iron ore, other cargo varied from grain and automobiles to oil, spanning a 73 year period of service.
     After running aground in 1969 during a snowstorm, the SS Meteor was retired from service and returned to the port where she was launched. The steamer is now planted on Barkers Island, on the shores of Lake Superior and the Osaugie Waterfront Trail. On board tours are available to see the world's last whaleback ship, SS Meteor - Superior, Wisconsin including many of its original fixtures, such as the steam engine, ship's wheel and sleeping quarters.
     Battling the elements for well over a century, the ship had taken on a grave state of disrepair. Once assigned to the top ten list of Endangered Historical Properties by the Wisconsin Trust for Historic Preservation, concerned groups kicked off the S.S. Meteor Preservation and Stabilization Project in 2004. An enthusiastic band of volunteers participated in preservation events every year since then, completing numerous tasks which involved cleaning, rust removal, painting and significant repairs.

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