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Great Lakes Engineering Works hull #17 was ordered by the Shenango Furnace Company of Cleveland, Ohio in 1905. On February 17th 1906, hull #17 was launched at Ecorse, Michigan as the steamer William P. Snyder named after the Shenango Furnace Company’s founder and owner.

The William P. Snyder was powered by a triple expansion steam engine capable of 1,665 horsepower. The ship’s carrying capacity was 10,300 tons in three cargo holds accessible by 31 hatches. The William P. Snyder sailed for the Shenango Furnace Company until 1926 when her ownership changed to the Interlake Steamship Company. Interlake upon acquisition re-named the ship Elton Hoyt II. In 1950 her original triple expansion steam engine was replace with a 3500 horsepower 4 cylinder Skinner Uniflow steam engine. Her boilers were replaced also at this time. She carried the name of Elton Hoyt II until 1952 when Interlake renamed her the Alex D. Chisholm.

In 1966, the Chisholm was sold by Interlake Steamship Company to the Medusa Portland Cement. In 1967 she was re-named Medusa Challenger and converted to burn fuel oil in her boilers and converted haul bulk cement for a total carrying capacity of 10,250 tons. This work was accomplished by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company at Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

In 1998 Medusa Portland Cement was acquired by Southdown Inc. The Medusa Challenger was re-named Southdown Challenger. She sailed with this name until 2005 when her name was again changed to St. Marys Challenger following corporate mergers bringing Southdown Inc. under ownership of St. Marys Cement Inc. St. Marys Cement is a foreign owned corporation; the Jones Act requires this ship to be flagged and operated by a U.S. company to sail from U.S. port to U.S. port within the Great Lakes system therefore this ship is managed and operated by Hannah Marine Corporation of Chicago, Illinois.

Although this ship as undergone many changes throughout her career on the Great Lakes she is considered a true classic still sailing the waters of the inland seas. “Still Steamin’” has been proudly painted just below the pilot house by the crew in celebration of this Centennial year of operation, a true industry milestone. The St. Marys Challenger is the first Great Lake vessel to achieve this special distinction of surviving one hundred years of service and “Still Steamin’”.

Available for purchase are special commemorative “Centennial” prints. The print is arranged in a blueprint style format showing starboard profile views of the ship as she appeared when new in 1906 as the William P. Snyder and how she appears now in 2006 as the St. Marys Challenger one hundred years later. Shown in the upper right corner is the Shenango Furnace Company’s logo in honor of her original owners and operators and shown in the lower left corner is the Hannah Marine Company anchor logo, the ship’s current operators.

Available prints are:  
20” x 12”
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For further information and more details of the history of the St. Marys Challenger please visit:

© JOHN BELLIVEAU 2006 – Ship drawings and concept     © CHRIS WINTERS 2006 – Artistic design and direction