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Steamship group aims to save old ship in Superior

Rob Prusak, terminal manager at Lafarge North America, stands next to the J.B. Ford in Superior, Wis., recently. The nonprofit Great Lakes Steamship Society wants to ensure that the 108-year-old ship laid up in Superior continues to survive. (AP Photo by Bob King/The Duluth News-Tribune)

DULUTH, MINN. (AP) — There is nothing unique about the laker J.B. Ford, except that it is a survivor.

The nonprofit Great Lakes Steamship Society wants to ensure that the 108-year-old ship laid up in Superior continues to survive.

“She is a historic survivor and an icon from our nation’s industrial history,” Great Lakes Steamship Society founder Steve Haverty said.

The Ford was upbound on Lake Superior during the 1905 Mataafa Storm, during which 29 vessels were lost or damaged. It was downbound on Superior during the 1913 White Hurricane storm, during which 12 vessels were lost and 32 driven aground.

Craig Ryan, communications director for Lafarge’s Lakes and Seaway Business Unit, said it’s too early to say whether the vessel will be turned over to the society.

Preparing for when the Ford might become available, the society recently began raising money to obtain and restore it, which could cost $1.5 million to $2 million.

Alpena, Mich., on Lake Huron, and Kenosha, Wis., on Lake Michigan, have both expressed a tentative interest in receiving the Ford if the society obtains and restores the vessel, Haverty said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

One comment

  1. LaFarge Corp. should be commended for the possibility of saving this grand old lady of the lakes. She sure deserves to be saved for history. LaFarge tried saving the E M Ford but got no takers. I sure hope that happens again.

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