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Langell Shipyard Walking Tour

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This is a contributing entry for Langell Shipyard Walking Tour and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.

The tiles on this marker present an illustration of the steamer D.C. WHITNEY underway on the open waters of Lake Huron. Built in the Langell Shipyard and launched in 1882 in St. Clair’s Pine River, this 220 ft. wooden freighter had a checkered career for the next 68 years. During its first 25 years sailing the Great Lakes, it carried a variety of cargo and towed barges doing the same. Several times, the D.C. WHITNEY ran aground and needed the help of local tugs to pull it free. In 1892 it was lengthened by 9 feet and added a second deck giving it an additional 7 feet in depth. In 1908 it was sold to a new owner then rebuilt as the steamer GARGANTUA. Three years later, the boat was beached in Lake Ontario, recovered and converted to a barge. In 1920, the boat was converted to a floating drydock then totally abandoned in 1950.

Marker #12 D.C. WHITNEY

Boat, Watercraft, Naval architecture, Rectangle

D.C. WHITNEY ready to load lumber. Note Gilchrist Co. owners (1901)

Water, Sky, Boat, Vehicle

Vessel Name: D.C. WHITNEY

Official Number: 157075

Rig: Propeller

Vessel Length: 220.00 feet

Vessel Width: 40.00 feet

Vessel Depth: 14.58 feet

Gross Tonnage: 1,090.01

Net Tonnage: 1,013.22

Hull Material: Wood

Builder: Simon Langell


1882 – September 4, enrolled in Detroit

1883 – June, struck railroad bridge that failed to open

1885 – towed barge WAYNE

1885 – February, converted to two (2) decks, 22 feet draft

1886 to 87 – Towed barge ASHLAND

1887 – September, stranded Pt. Hope reef with consort ASHLAND

1888 – towed barge H.W. SAGE

1889 to 1890’s – towed barge WAYNE

1890 – November 14, one crewman killed, one fatally injured, two seriously injured in accidental fall to hold

1891 – April 14, owned Whitney Transportation Company, Hamtramck, MI

1891 – October 12, stranded, Raspberry Island, Lake Superior; released by tug CORA a. SHELDON

1893 – May 12, stranded with consort WAYNE, Round Island, Lake Huron; released by tug MERRICK

1896 – March 19, enrolled Detroit, one deck, one mast


1899 – owned Whitney Transportation Co., Detroit; 229 feet long, 40 feet wide, 21 feet deep, with 2 decks

1901 – February, owned J.C. Gilchrist, Cleveland, Ohio

1901 – March 5, owned Inland Star Transit Co., Mentor, Ohio

1902 – August, towed MOONLIGHT

1903 – April 14, owned Gilchrist Transportation Co., Mentor

1905 – November 25, stranded in storm, Washington Island, WI, Lake Michigan

1905 to 1906 – repaired Milwaukee, WI

1906 – November 11, burned Racine, WI

1908 – February 20, sold Canadian; documents surrendered: owned Joseph Ganley, et al, Sault Ste. Marie, ONT

1909 – May, rebuilt as propeller GARGANTUA, C122435

1909 – August 5, beached Sault Ste. Marie

1910 – owned Midland Towing & Wrecking Co., Ltd, Midland, ONT

1912 – beached Beausoliel Island; hull later recovered and converted to barge, Kingston, ONT; machinery to TOILER

1920 – Out of documentation; hull converted to floating drydock, Midland

1950 - abandoned

Great Lakes Maritime Database and photo archives, Great Lakes Maritime Collection, Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library. “Shipbuilding in St. Clair,” Research Binder, Ships File Cabinet, St. Clair Historical Museum and Research Center archives

Image Sources(Click to expand)

St. Clair Historical Museum and Research Center

Great Lakes Maritime Database and photo archives, Great Lakes Maritime Collection, Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library.