~ Arcadia ~
1888-1907

Arcadia
Official No. 106552

GLM Anchor

Originally owned by Henry Starke, of Arcadia, MI., and William A. Starke, of Milwaukee, the ARCADIA was built in 1888 at the Milwaukee Dry Dock Co., with timbers and planking cut in the Starke sawmill at Arcadia, MI., and shipped to Milwaukee. She measured 118.66 feet in length, 26.16 ft beam, 9 ft depth, being 230 gross tonnage. In February, 1894, Wm. A. Starke sold his 1/3 interest for $7,000 to Henry Starke who promptly sold the whole to the Henry Starke Land & Lumber Company, of Arcadia, for $31,000.

 

For nineteen years the ARCADIA plied the waters of Lake Michigan, visiting various ports with her usual cargo of lumber, until 1906 when the Starke Land & Lumber Company was destroyed by fire. Later that fall she was sold to Captain Harry May of Cleveland. Through his career on the lakes he had saved enough money to finally purchase his own vessel and, even though the ARCADIA had her bottom recaulked and received new deck and beam in '04, Capt. May set about giving her a thorough going over afterwhich she had a rating of A1-1/2 from Inland Lloyd's.

 

It was Capt. May's intention to make the ARCADIA his home during the navigational season so, at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 12th, 1907, when the ARCADIA left Manistee with her cargo of lumber for consigned to Two Rivers, his wife was onboard as well. Among the crew was Capt. Carlton Graves who had shipped as mate. At 79 years of age, Capt. Graves was the oldest, and one of the best known masters, on the lakes as well as secretary of the Cleveland lodge of the Ship Masters' Association.

 

What happened next is a mystery. The Marine Review of April 25th, and the Ludington Chronicle of April 24th, claim that she sailed into stormy weather shortly after leaving Manistee, however the May 1st edition of the Ludington Chronicle states that from April 12th to the 16th the wind never blew harder than 20 miles an hour according to anemometer readings taken at the Ludington lifesaving station. The theory of a boiler explosion was also rejected as her boilers had just been inspected the week before, none of the wreckage found showed any signs of splintering or being torn off, and no one ashore or on the lake had heard an explosion. Local marine men, including Capt. Berndt Carlson, keeper of the Ludington lifesaving station, put forth the theory that the Arcadia simply turned turtle caused by improper loading. Tallymen who loaded the ARCADIA stated that she carried only 25 feet of hardwood lumber in the hold and 113,000 feet on her deck. This same thing had happened during the summer of 1894 when the LLOYD S. PORTER , loaded with dry hemlock, was witnessed to roll over in perfectly calm water.

 

While the exact cause of her loss may never be determined with any degree of certainty, the wreck of the Arcadia ended the career of two sailors of the type that made lake shipping famous. It was the last trip for the oldest master on the lake and the ambitious Capt. Harry May.

 

Partial Victim List

Captain Harry May & wife

Captain Carlton Graves

Miss Minnie E. Enouf, age 17, cook, daughter of Joseph & Addie Enouf. Buried at Holy Rosary Cemetery, Grand Marais, MI.

Otto Chavalia, age 22, fireman
Harry Powers
Charles McIntyre
John Pulls

 


Sources:

- Photo courtesy of University of Detroit Mercy Fr. Edward J. Dowling, S. J. Marine Historical Collection

- Merchant Vessel List, 1908

- Ludington Chronicle, 24 April 1907

- Ludington Chronicle, 1 May 1907

- Beeson's Sailors' Handbook & Inland Marine Guide; 1891, 1892

- The Marine Record, 22 Feb 1894

- Blue Book of American Shipping; 1897, 1903

- Inland Lloyd's Vessel Register, 1907

- Historic Arcadia, Michigan; Arcadia, MI., Historical Museum

- The American Marine Engineer; May, 1907, p.27





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