At right: The railroad ferry Chief Wawatam arrived at St. Ignace at noon Wednesday, October 17, 1911, depicted in this photograph submitted by reader Stephen LaJoice. Her arrival was cause for celebration, and community dignitaries, school children, and residents crowded up the track apron and into the deep hull of the large ship for a look-see. Writes Mr. LaJoice: “I count as many as four dogs who also showed up for the event.” A similar local delegation had seen the boat earlier that day in Mackinaw City when the ship stopped so the apron there could be fitted to the Chief’s deck tracks. Among the crew bringing the ship from its birthplace in Toledo were Commodore Lewis R. Boynton, his son, Captain Albert H. Boynton, and Chief Officer Fred Ryerse, probably among the three uniformed men standing on the bridge in this photograph. Chief Engineer was Richard Walsh. Chief Engineer John McLaughlin of Cheboygan also made the trip, monitoring the new engines for the railroad. The elevator that was used to raise the apron, seen so prominently in this photograph, collapsed August 3, 2011, and an effort is being made to restore the structure. 1p1.jpg

Click here for digital edition
2011-10-13 digital edition