SS City of Milwaukee
The City of Milwaukee is a steel-hulled ship with a carrying capacity of 28–32 fully loaded rail cars. It was powered by four Scotch marine boilers, producing 185 pounds of pressure powering two triple-expansion reciprocating steam engines rated at 1350 horsepower each, for a combined horsepower of 2700.
The ship was built in 1930 and launched in 1931 at Manitowoc, Wisconsin to replace SS Milwaukee, which sank with all hands on October 22, 1929, during a gale. She was operated by the Grand Trunk Railroad until 1978. She then sailed for the Ann Arbor Railroad before retirement in 1981.
The Steamship City of Milwaukee is the last traditional railroad car ferry on the Great Lakes.
Car ferry service had been introduced to the Great Lakes in 1892, and there were as many as 14 vessels operating on the lakes at the system's peak. These specialized vessels were capable of carrying up to 34 railroad cars across the often stormy and ice-packed lakes at any time of year. The City of Milwaukee sailed for the Grand Trunk until 1978 when, as the last of their fleet of three to be sailing, she was chartered to the Ann Arbor Railroad. She sailed for this road until 1982, when she was retired permanently. She is currently preserved in Manistee, Michigan as a National Historic Landmark Museum. She is owned by the Society for the Preservation for the SS City of Milwaukee. In addition to being a museum to tour, she is also operated seasonally as a bed and breakfast. This vessel provides guided tours, museum exhibits, facility rentals, and the acclaimed Ghost Ship haunted attraction in October.
She is the last unmodified traditional railroad car ferry afloat upon the lakes, still with her triple-expansion steam engine, original woodwork, and brass fixtures.
She is owned by the Society for the Preservation of the SS City of Milwaukee.
The USCGC Acacia (WLB 406) was second to the last of a fleet of 39 similar 180-foot seagoing buoy tenders completed during World War II Acacia is a multi-purpose vessel, nominally a buoy tender, but with equipment and capabilities for icebreaking, search and rescue, fire fighting, logistics, and other tasks as well.
Acacia was homeported in Port Huron, Michigan, Sturgeon Bay, WI, Grand Haven, MI and Charlevoix, MI. The ship's primary duty was maintaining more than 210 buoys, lighthouses, and other navigational aids. Her area of operation ranged from as far south as Calumet Harbor, south Chicago, to as far north as Little Bay de Noc, including Green Bay, Wisconsin; Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin; and Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula.
Among her various duties were search and rescue of lost or disabled vessels and icebreaking assistance during the cold winter months. During the ice season, Acacia was one of several Coast Guard ice breakers engaged in Operation Coal Shovel, which keeps the channels between Toledo, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan open for the coal ships supplying power plants and industries in Detroit.
Acacia also worked with NOAA in their efforts to acquire accurate weather information and with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service when they stocked Lake Michigan with hundreds of thousands of yearling trout.
Acacia was decommissioned June 7, 2006, after 62 years of service. Acacia was the second to last of the 180-foot (55 m) vessels to serve.
In late October 2009, Acacia steamed under her own power after more than three years of not running the main engines to Manistee, Michigan, where she has teamed up with the SS City of Milwaukee National Historic Landmark museum in an effort to give the general population the experience of being and working onboard a Great Lakes buoy tender as well as a 1930s car ferry.