Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ship Month - James M. Schoonmaker / Willis B. Boyer

OK, here's a completely different kind of ship docked in Toledo, Ohio (open til Labor Day 2012; I'd assume summer hours next year, maybe with more restoration done!).

The James M. Schoonmaker (formerly the Willis B. Boyer, and before that, the James M. Schoonmaker again!) is a lake freighter built in 1911, right around the time of Titanic.

Aside from her enormity the SCHOONMAKER displayed unparalleled elegance. The showpiece of her owner, William P. Snyder, and flagship of her fleet, The Shenango Furnace Co., the SCHOONMAKER provided luxurious passenger accommodations which rivaled the “appointments of such magnificent transatlantic express steamships as the Lusitania and Olympic.”

Not for the faint of heart, you travel up a slightly steep, small-looking (but safe) gangway to get onto the deck. The whole place has several flights of stairs and is not for those who are afraid of heights, unless they love ships.  (I am afraid of heights, but I love ships, so it worked out fine.)  They charged me $4--I thought I'd read it would be $7, but I couldn't complain.

The inside is like a museum, not all that polished yet, but that's one of the things I loved about it!

They have some displays in the lowest level (the "ground floor," though this is several stories up).  I believe this was higher-up crew members' quarters.

If I recall correctly they had two functioning bathrooms!  That is something I haven't seen in many museum ships.

This is in the Grill Room, a passenger lounge.

Electric fireplace in said room.

Heading upstairs!

You slip outside...


and head up to the next level, the "Texas Deck." The Observation Room was hard to photograph.

I THINK this was still on the Texas Deck, but it could've been one level up.

Anyway, one more flight of stairs gets you to the Pilothouse!

This looked so Titanic-y.

All in all it was a great little museum. As it stands, 30 minutes would probably be plenty of time to tour, even if you like to read everything; 20 if you're in a rush. You can spend a bit more time if you love taking photos or just standing on the deck and relaxing. Well worth the trip.

If you want to read more about Great Lakes freighters, well, the volunteer who showed me around the lowest level asked if I heard about them through Boat Nerd (I hadn't). I looked recently and didn't see info on this particular vessel, but I'm sure there is some.

Hope you enjoyed ship month!

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