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Historical Perspective
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Ann Arbor No. 7 1925 - 1965
Viking 1965 - 1996
Viking I 1996 - Present

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Built by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. of Manitowoc, WI as hull # 214. Launched on December 30, 1924 as ANN ARBOR NO. 7 for the Ann Arbor Railroad Co. of Frankfort, MI. The ANN ARBOR NO. 7 was the third of six car ferries built to the same general class and dimensions by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. Dimensions: 360’ loa x 56’ beam x 19’ depth; 2,934 GRT, 1,426 NRT. Capacity 30 rail cars. Powered by two triple expansion steam engines. Entered service on her maiden voyage on February 22, 1925.

On October 22, 1929, in the same storm that sank the car ferry MILWAUKEE, the AA No. 7 plowed into three large successive waves an hour out of Manitowoc, WI bound for Frankfort, MI just before noon. The first sea dropped the stem deep in a trough as the second wave broke in several windows on her forward cabin. The third sea knocked the ship off course against the helm, forcing the skipper top return to Manitowoc. On February 10, 1933 the AA No. 7 lost her starboard propeller in ice off Frankfort harbor. Her fleet mate WABASH attempted to tow the AA No. 7 to the Manitowoc shipyard on February 12, but heavy seas broke the towline enroute and the AA No. 7 was on her own with one propeller operable. She drifted on the beach north of Frankfort harbor while wallowing heavily in slush ice-covered swells. The WABASH found the beach nearby. Both ferries freed themselves after the winds and ice jams subsided on February 13th. While making her way back to the shipyard to replace her lost starboard propeller, the AA No. 7 struck a submerged object in the Manitowoc River, breaking three of the four blades on her port propeller and cracking her port shaft. She was repaired promptly and returned to service on February 18, 1933. On June 23, 1933 the AA No. 7 rescued the lone survivor of a plane crash in northern Lake Michigan, Mrs. Charles Rennie, wife of the Vice President of Rennie Oil Co. of Traverse City, MI. On September 19, 1937 the AA No. 7 assisted the Coast Guard in the rescue of 15 men off the sinking lumber steamer C.E. REDFERN. On April 11, 1948 the AA No. 7 ran aground on the sandy bottom south of Sturgeon Bay Canal. She was released with no apparent damage by two tugs on April 12th.

In 1964 The ANN ARBOR NO. 7 sailed to Superior, WI (she was the only carferry to go through the Soo Locks) where she was extensively rebuilt by Fraser–Nelson Shipyards at a cost of $2 million. The original triple expansion steam engines were replaced with four diesel electric engines, the upper deck was raised 3’ 6” to handle taller rail cars and a bow thruster was installed. She was renamed VIKING. New tonnages listed as: 2,713 GRT, 1,287 NRT Sea trials were performed on April 22, 1965. In April, 1982 the Ann Arbor car ferry service was terminated, ending the VIKING’s career as a railroad car ferry.

On May 16, 1983 the VIKING was towed by the Canonie Transport tug AMERICAN VIKING from Frankfort/Elberta, MI to Sturgeon Bay, WI after being purchased from the State of Michigan by Petersen Builders of Sturgeon Bay, WI. The vessel was used by Petersen as a storage warehouse. In March 1987 the VIKING was considered a prime candidate for conversion to an auto and passenger ferry running between Muskegon, MI and Milwaukee, WI. Muskegon taxpayers rejected the ambitious plan during a vote for a $6.5 million financing referendum to fund part of the ship’s renovation and shore-based infrastructure.

In June 1996 the vessel sailed under her own power from Manitowoc, WI to Port Stanley, Ont. and was renamed VIKING I. In November of 1996, according to a story in the Erie Daily Times, "Captain Gerry Matherne sailed the vessel in the middle of the night from Port Stanley, Ont. to Erie on his own volition because of threats of violence made to him and at least one other crew member. VIKING I was to be used for a ferry service between Port Stanley and Cleveland but the investor group behind the venture, apparently underestimated the cost of renovating the 71-year old vessel and fell behind on payments to previous owner Contessa Cruise Lines, for whom Matherne worked. It was apparently under the pretense of repossessing the vessel that Matherne took command and sailed her from Port Stanley, claiming that a telephone caller has threatened bodily harm to him if he tried to take back the ferry. Matherne had previously called Raymond Schreckengost, executive director of the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority, to seek permission to berth the ferry there. Upon arriving in Erie, the U.S. Coast Guard cited Matherne and Contessa with numerous violations, including lack of radar and a gyrocompass, lack of a pilot licensed for the Great Lakes and failure to notify the Coast Guard of VIKING I's arrival in Erie" From October, 1996 to January 2003, while owned by Contessa Cruise Lines, the VIKING I was in lay-up at Erie, PA. There were plans to run the ferry in the auto, truck and passenger trade between Cleveland and Port Stanley, but the high cost of asbestos removal during renovation ended the venture.

The vessel was purchased by K&K Warehousing in December 2002 and was towed out of Erie, PA by the tug OLIVE L. MOORE on January 14, 2003 arriving at Menominee, MI on January 18, 2003. Currently the vessel is in Menominee, MI. (Vessel information provided by Art Chavez and Boatnerd News Archive)

 

Ann Arbor No. 7 1925 - 1965
(Ann Arbor Railroad Co.)

December 30, 1924, Manitowoc, WI just prior to launch.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Launching December 30, 1924, Manitowoc, WI.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Ann Arbor car ferries no.'s 5, 4, 3, 7 and 6.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

At Manitowoc, WI 1938.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Ann Arbor car ferries no.'s 7 and 3 at Frankfort, MI&.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Ann Arbor car ferries no.'s 7 and 5 at Kewaunee, WI.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Ann Arbor No. 7 and Pere Marquette 22 at Kewaunee, WI.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

At Frankfort, MI.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Frankfort, MI.
(Photo by W.H. Sharp from the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Postcard view Frankfort, MI.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Arriving at Frankfort, MI.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Postcard view showing Ann Arbor ferries No.'s 4, 7 and 6.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Early in her career.
(Photo by Ed Wilson from the Tom Manse collection)

Early in her career.
(Photo by Ed Wilson, Tom Manse collection and Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Frankfort, MI.
(From the Tom Manse collection and Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Frankfort, MI.
(From the Tom Manse collection)

At Manitowoc, WI July 4, 1941.
(From the Ron Beaupre collection)

Frankfort, MI.
(From the Tom Manse collection)

At the Soo Line dock, Manitowoc, WI. I took the photo when I was in my teens and sold newspapers on all of the boats in the Manitowoc shipyard as well as on the car ferries.
(Photo by Dick Sheehy)

Frankfort, MI 1960's.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Outbound Manistique, MI.
(From the Post Card collection of Don Geske)

Outbound Manitowoc, WI.
(From the Post Card collection of Don Geske)

Through the drawbridge at Manitowoc, WI.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Postcard view under the Mackinaw Bridge .
(From the Chuck Truscott collection)

Upbound Mission Point 1964.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

Stern view upbound Mission Point 1964.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

Entering the Soo Locks 1964.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

In the Soo Locks 1964.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

Then only car ferry to go through the Soo Locks 1964.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Raised in the Soo Locks 1964.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Departing the Soo Locks on her way to Superior, WI for conversion to Viking.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

In the Drydock at Fraser-Nelson Shipyards at Superior, WI 1964.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Car deck being raised 3' 6" at Superior, WI, 1964.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Car deck being raised 3' 6" at Superior, WI, 1964.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

   
Viking 1965 - 1983
(Ann Arbor Railroad Co.)

Viking being towed to paint shop 1965.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Sea trails, Superior, WI April 22, 1965.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Sea trails, Superior, WI April 22, 1965.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Aerial view of Viking.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

"Viking's Mustache" At Manitowoc, WI February 9, 1968.
(Photo by Dick Sheehy)

At Manitowoc, WI July 1968.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Postcard view underway.
(Photo by L.L. Cook from the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Entering Manitowoc, WI March 29, 1970.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Entering Manitowoc, WI March 29, 1970.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Entering Manitowoc, WI March 29, 1970.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Entering Manitowoc, WI March 29, 1970.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Through the drawbridge into Manitowoc, WI.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Kewaunee, WI.
(Photo by Dave Glick from the Rich Weiss collection)

Arrival at Kewaunee, WI.
(Photo by Dennis Smolisnski from the Rich Weiss collection)

Cropped view of previous picture.
(Photo by Dennis Smolisnski from the Rich Weiss collection)

With City of Midland 41 at Manitowoc, WI 1970's.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Outbound Frankfort, MI.
(From the postcard collection of Don Geske)

Headed out to Lake Michigan from Frankfort, MI.
(From the postcard collection of Don Geske)

Docked at Frankfort, MI.
(From the postcard collection of Don Geske)

Out of Kewaunee, WI 1972.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

At Kewaunee, WI January 1976.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

8th Street Bridge, Manitowoc, WI.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Entering Kewaunee, WI.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

With Arthur K. Atkinson at Frankfort, MI.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

In the ice, April 1979.
(Photo by Robert Henkel)

In the ice, April 1979.
(Photo by Robert Henkel)

Turning in the ice, April 1979.
(Photo by Robert Henkel)

In the ice, April 1979.
(Photo by Robert Henkel)

At Kewaunee Heads May 1979.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

With City of Milwaukee at Frankfort, MI July 1979.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Viking and Badger at Manitowoc, WI May 2, 1980.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Viking and Arthur K. Atkinson at Frankfort, MI.
(From the postcard collection of Don Geske)

Docked at Kewaunee, WI.
(From the postcard collection of Don Geske)

Entering Frankfort, MI.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Loading at Frankfort, MI.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Entering Kewaunee, WI.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

1981.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Backing into dock at Kewaunee, WI 1981.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Approaching Frankfort, MI as the Arthur K. Atkinson departs.
(Photo by Marc Vander Meulen)

Tied up with Arthur K. Atkinson and City of Milwaukee in Frankfort, MI October 1982.
(Photo by Marc Vander Meulen)

Bow view tied up with Arthur K. Atkinson and City of Milwaukee in Frankfort, MI October 1982.
(Photo by Marc Vander Meulen)

Bow of Viking Frankfort, MI October 1982.
(Photo by Marc Vander Meulen)

Water level view of stern Frankfort, MI October 1982.
(Photo by Marc Vander Meulen)

 
Viking 1983 - 1996
(Petersen Builders)

At Sturgeon Bay, WI July 1986.
(Photo by Ken Ottman from the Bob Kalal collection)

At Sturgeon Bay, WI November 12, 1986.
(Photo by Ken Ottman from the Bob Kalal collection)

Aerial postcard view of Sturgeon Bay, WI with Viking visible.
(From the Bob Kalal collection)

Sturgeon Bay, WI July 25, 1993.
(Photo by Rich Weiss)

Closer view at Sturgeon Bay, WI July 25, 1993.
(Photo by Rich Weiss)

At Sturgeon Bay, WI.
(Photo by John E. Parnell from the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

At Sturgeon Bay, WI with Edward L. Ryerson in background.
(Photo by Bullerman from the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

At Peterson Builders Dock Sturgeon Bay, WI. Hull of Straights of Mackinaw in foreground, July 25, 1993.
(Photo by Rich Weiss)

At Peterson Builders Dock, Sturgeon Bay, WI. Date and photographer unknown.
(From Boatnerd archives)

At Sturgeon Bay, WI.
(Photo by Wendell Wilke from the Bob Kalal collection)

At Kewaunee, MI April 18-19 1994.
(Photo by Carl Fredericks)

At Kewaunee, MI April 18-19 1994.
(Photo by Carl Fredericks)

Aerial view of Viking at Manitowoc, WI, 1996.
(Photo by Nathan Leindecker from the Bob Kalal collection)

     
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Masters and Chief Engineers of the Ann Arbor No. 7
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
Unknown 1925
B. F. Tulledge 1926 - 27
A. L. Larson 1928 - 37
B. H. Hanson 1938 - 40
Albert A. Straubel 1941 - 49<
G. T. Gabrielsen 1950 - 53
W. G. Beaucock 1954 - 58
C. D. Bishop 1959
G. T. Gabrielsen 1960 - 63
J. Nelson 1964
Unknown 1925
O. T. Larson 1926 - 27
William L. Campbell 1928 - 36
George Johnson 1937
William L. Campbell 1937
Stanley J. Hawkins 1938 - 44
M. J. Dahlgren 1945 - 53
H. W. Walkley 1954 - 58
J. M. Clausen 1959 - 60
E. E. Soderquist 1961 - 63
C. R. Lints 1964
Masters and Chief Engineers of the Viking
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
C. M. Jacobsen 1965 - 71
G. D. Hardy 1972 - 73
Unknown 1974
G. D. Hardy 1975
Bruce .K. Jewell 1977 - 82
R. Closs 1965 - 73
Unknown 1974
R. Closs 1975
J. H. Hunsberger 1976 - 78
J. Sheffer 1979
J. Mallien 1980 - 82

 


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Last updated: January 16, 2010.

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