This veteran of the Great Lakes was
built in 1927 by American Ship Building Co., Lorain, OH as hull #798 and was
launched April 30, 1927 as the straight deck bulk carrier Harry Coulby (2) for
Interlake Steamship Co., Cleveland, OH. The vessel instantly became the
largest straight deck bulk carrier in the U. S. fleet. The “Queen of the
Lakes” title for the longest vessel on the Great Lakes at that time though,
was held by the self unloading steamer Carl D. Bradley launched April 9, 1927
at 640 feet. The Harry Coulby was the second vessel in the Interlake fleet to
be named after one of the original partners of Pickands Mather & Co.,
Cleveland, OH; a company instrumental in the formation of the Interlake
The Harry Coulby was an outstanding
vessel of her day built with excellent accommodations and guest quarters with
exquisite taste in materials, design, and workmanship. She was initially
powered by a triple expansion steam engine with 3 coal fired water tube
boilers and could carry 16,000 tons at her maximum mid-summer draft of 22’11”
contained in 4 holds fed by 18 hatches.
Carrying 14,650 tons of coal for Duluth,
the Harry Coulby departed on her maiden voyage from Lorain on Sept. 10, 1927;
returning with 13,731 tons of iron ore, a record for a U.S. carrier to date.
She set and reset records over a 15 year period in regular competition with
the L. E. Block, a 621’ carrier also built in 1927.
On July 1, 1940; she loaded 16,067 tons
of iron ore at the C. & N.W. ore dock at Ashland, WI marking the first cargo
carried on the lakes over the 16,000 ton mark. In 1941, she set her final
record of 16,333 tons of iron ore.
In 1957, the vessel was repowered with a
5,500 s.h.p. De Laval geared steam turbine engine and 2 new water tube
boilers. These coal fired boilers were later converted to oil (heavy fuel oil)
during her winter lay up at Ashtabula, OH in 1976 - 77.
As the Harry Coulby, she was noted to
have transited the new St. Lawrence Seaway System in its opening year of 1959
to obtain iron ore from Canadian Gulf of St. Lawrence ports due to striking
U.S. steel workers. She has also been recorded as having grounded in heavy fog
on the St. Clair River below Marine City, MI on July 25, 1965; being released
July 27. On April 20, 1968 she struck the dock at Taconite Harbor during a
storm causing bow damage which was repaired at Superior, WI.
The year 1981 saw the vessel only carry
the occasional load of grain. With the downturn in the economy and fewer
cargoes to be carried, the vessel entered long term lay up in Duluth Nov. 5,
1981. Immediately prior to being sold for scrap, the Kinsman Marine Transit
Lines, Inc., Cleveland, OH purchased the vessel in late 1988. With the pending
retirement of their vessel Henry Steinbrenner, they required a replacement
vessel for their Duluth to Buffalo grain trade route.
On June 18, 1989; the newly christened
Kinsman Enterprise (2) departed Duluth on her maiden voyage for her new owners
carrying 553,000 bushels of spring wheat. She was the second vessel in this
fleet to carry the name Kinsman Enterprise. Kinsman reflects on the fleet
being on the lakes for nearly a century controlled by the Steinbrenner family
of New York Yankee baseball fame, and Enterprise signifying the survival of an
independent small fleet. The first vessel to carry this name was built in
Chicago in 1906, launched as the Norman B. Ream, a 601’ bulk carrier. The
vessel was acquired by Kinsman and given the name Kinsman Enterprise (1) in
1965; being sold for use as a storage hull in May, 1979.
In October 1992, the Kinsman Enterprise
was noted as having grounded in the St Mary’s River causing hull damage. After
her release, she was permitted to proceed to Buffalo to unload then make way
to Duluth for permanent repairs. Cargoes for this vessel diminished and she
entered long term lay up in Buffalo on Dec. 13, 1995 (her 5 year survey to
expire in June, 2003). Her only activity since had been the odd load of
storage cargo in Buffalo.
In December of 2001, she was sold to
International Marine Salvage, Port Colborne, ON for scrapping. At
approximately 9:30am on May 28, 2002; the Kinsman Enterprise departed Buffalo
for the last time under tow of McKeil Marine tug Progress and Nadro Marine tug
Seahound. The Kinsman Enterprise was secured her final destination dock in
Port Colborne at approximately 4pm the same day. Scrapping of the vessel was
scheduled to commence by the fall of 2002.
With the scrapping of the Kinsman
Enterprise, only 3 straight deck bulk carriers remain in the Great Lakes U.S.
fleet in 2002: Interlake’s Lakes Shipping laid up John Sherwin (2) which last
operated Nov. 16, 1981; Ispat Inland’s (Central Marine Logistics) Edward L.
Ryerson which last operated Dec. 12, 1998; and Great Lakes Associates’
(Kinsman Marine) Kinsman Independent (3), the only U.S. straight decker still
active on the Great Lakes. Unfortunately, changing times are dictating a
changing era on the Great Lakes leading to the gradual demise the traditional
straight decker. Though there are more active straight deck bulkers in the
Canadian fleet, the trend continues with the scrapping of the Algogulf (2)
with others pending.