Maiden Voyage
City of Midland 41

The CITY OF MIDLAND 41 was the first single ship (no sister ship) built by the Pere Marquette Railroad since the second P.M. 18. She was built at a cost of $2,000,000 with 60 staterooms and a capacity for 34 freight cars. Her keel was laid on March 20, 1940 at the Manitowoc Shipyard, launched September 18th, and made her maiden voyage on March 12, 1941. Her length was 406' and her beam was 58.2'. She was considered by many to be the finest carferry ever built. Because her boiler mounts were in need of major repair, she was retired in 1988.

Call Whistle -- Long-Short-Long
Captain -- Charles E. Robertson
Chief Engineer -- Richard Langrill

From "The Great Lakes News", March 1941 (Roxy Wienand)
  • Approximately 6,000,000 pounds of steel were employed in its construction. Paint used totaled 35 tons or 70,000 pounds.
  • About 700,000 rivets were used to bind the ship together. Almost a year, or 352 days, elapsed from the time the keel was laid up to its trial run.
  • The ship is 406 feet in length and has a carrying capacity of 34 freight cars, 50 automobiles and 376 passengers. She has 60 staterooms and 12 parors.
  • The large dining room seats 60 persons at one time. Mandel Brothers, well-known Chicago department store, was in charge of all interior decoration.
  • So complete and modern is the new ship that it provides eight steel dog kennels for those who take their pets with them.
  • The ship has a guaranteed service speed of 18 mph and will normally make the Ludington-Manitowoc run in three and one-half hours.
  • The new flagship is the only craft of its type to date with double bottom construction--two complete bottoms, each independent of the other, as a special safety protection.
  • Two Skinner uniflow steam engines, largest of their type ever contructed, produce a normal 6,000 shaft horsepower.
  • About 25 miles of electrical wire were needed to equip the ship and about two miles of pipe. She has 450 light fixtures.

"Unofficially rumored for several days, R.J. Bowman of Detroit, vice president in charge of operations of the Pere Marquette Railway Co. confirmed that the new Pere Marquette steamlined carferry under construction at Manitowoc, Wisconsin will be named "City of Midland".  The traditional number designation, although not yet determined, was expected to be "41"."

Ludington Daily News, August 1940


  • November, 1939 -- The CITY OF MIDLAND 41 was ordered by the Pere Marquette Railway.
  • March 14, 1940 -- The Ludington Daily News reported that the keel laying for the new Pere Marquette carferry (as of yet unamed) would take place sometime during the next week.
  • March 21, 1940 -- The keel was laid for the CITY OF MIDLAND 41.
  • August 5, 1940 -- The Ludington Daily News reported that the date of the launch of the CITY OF MIDLAND 41 was announced by marine superintendant L.H. Kent.  The date was set for September 18, 1940.
  • August 31, 1940 -- The Ludington Daily News reported that the 16-year-old daughter of Willard H. Dow (president of Dow Chemical), Helen A. would be the sponser of the CITY OF MIDLAND 41.
  • September 18, 1940 -- CITY OF MIDLAND 41 was launched in Manitowoc, WI.  She was christened by Miss Helen Dow, daughter of Willard H. Dow, president of Dow Chemical Co.
From the Ludington Daily News, September 1940


"Forty three years ago, in 1897 the first Pere Marquette carferry was launched in Bay City.  On Wednesday, September 18 the latest Pere Marquette carferry, $2,000,000 CITY OF MIDLAND 41, world's largest and most luxurious, was launched at Manitowoc, Wis.

As far as is known, Horace Abbott, 81 year old retired Ludington resident, who lives on Ludington Avenue, a short distance east of the city limits, is the only person in this vicinity who witnessed both launchings."

"Mr. Abbott, general foreman and mechanical and car department foreman of the Pere Marquette for many years, worked for the railroad at Saginaw in the 1890's and journeyed to Bay City to see the launching of the first steel carferry--originally named the PERE MARQUETTE and later the PERE MARQUETTE 15.

It was an auspicious event he recalls but nothing like the ceremony at Manitowoc Wednesday.  Although launched 43 years ago, that first ferry however was not entirely outclassed in size by the new 41 being 350 feet in length as compared to the 406 feet overall length of the CITY OF MIDLAND he related.

The 15 had four decktracks like the present ships and had a capacity of 26 freight cars he recalled further.  Her driving engines were rated at 2500 horsepower and the hull construction was such as to make her an impressive ice-breaker.  Mr. Abbott was much impressed with the appearance of the CITY OF MIDLAND.  'She really is a beautiful ship' he remarked.

Retired since 1936, Mr. Abbott is one of the keenest sports followers in the country.  Basketball and football are his particular loves.

Born in Canada of American parents he came to Michigan in 1882 after 'knocking around' for several years in company mining camps.  He sucured a position with the Pere Marquette Railroad then the Flint and Pere Marquette in 1890.  He transferred to Ludington in 1899 and he has resided here since."
  • September 27, 1940 -- After the launching, Miss Helen Dow, who christened the ship, was presented with a traveling bag by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company.
  • October 25, 1940 -- The Ludington Daily News reported the L.H. Kent showed movies of the CITY OF MIDLAND 41, showing the preparation of plans and moulds, laying of the keel, construction of the hull and superstructure up to the present. Most of the footage was taken by Kent.  He said that the installation of the engines was nearly complete.  The showing was made at the Monthly Rotary Club meeting at the Hotel Stearns.
  • January 18, 1941 -- The Ludington Daily News reported that he finishing touches were  being done to the new CITY OF MIDLAND 41 at Manitowoc.  The LDN reported that she should enter service around the 15th of February.
  • February 3, 1941 -- It was announced by the Ludington Daily News that the boilers of the CITY OF MIDLAND 41 were scheduled to be lit for the first time on Friday, February 7, 1941.

At Ludington

A committee to arrange for a city-wide celebration on the occasion of the maiden arrival of the Pere Marquette's $2,000,000 carferry, CITY OF MIDLAND 41, was announced today by Chamber of Commerce officials.

It includes Jacob Lunde, Vance Callaghan, and C. Lawrence Lind, secretary.  They will cooperate with Pere Marquette Railroad officials in staging a welcome.  Maiden voyage of the steamline vessel is scheduled for late January."

Ludington Daily News, December 1940
  • February 15, 1941 -- The Ludington Daily News reported that the maiden voyage of the new CITY OF MIDLAND 41 was now scheduled for sometime during the week of March 2nd.  The original date was for 2/15 but had to be postponed "because of a delay in the delivery of materials".
  • March 6, 1941 -- The Ludington Daily News reported that the announcement was made that the maiden voyage of the CITY OF MIDLAND 41 would be on March 12.  She would be running tests (sea trials) off the Wisconsin shore on March 8th.
  • March 12, 1941 -- The CITY OF MIDLAND 41 arrived Ludington on her maiden voyage.  She loaded cars of paper at Manitowoc, then picked up some cars of canned milk at Kewaunee.
  • June 29, 1941 -- Four hundred residents of Midland, Michigan took part in a special exursion cruise on the CITY OF MIDLAND 41 offered by the Pere Marquette Railway.
  • March 12, 1942 -- The Ludington Daily News reported that the CITY OF MIDLAND 41 ended her first year of service with approximately 1200 lake crossings.
  • November 27, 1986 - The CITY OF MIDLAND 41 ran aground at Ludington in a storm.
At Manitowoc
  • November 9, 1971 -- The CITY OF MIDLAND 41 was laid up due to coal stike.
  • April 5, 1977 -- Chessie System annouced that the CITY OF MIDLAND 41 would be withdrawn from service and only the SPARTAN and BADGER would run for the season.
At Ludington
  • March 9, 1985 -- The CITY OF MIDLAND 41 got stuck in the channel (Ludington) beside the tug JUDY ANN.
  • May 3, 1985 -- The CITY OF MIDLAND 41 was taken out of service for about three weeks with BADGER taking her place to prepare the 41 for the summer season.
  • May 16, 1987 -- The CITY OF MIDLAND was used to plant lake trout off Beaver Island.
  • June 8, 1988 -- The CITY OF MIDLAND 41 loaded a 42-wheel semi carrying a 100-ton steam turbine generator bound for Colorodo.
  • November, 1988 -- The CITY OF MIDLAND 41 was laid up.
Tow from Ludington
  • October 1, 1997  -- The CITY OF MIDLAND 41 was towed out of Ludington to be converted to a barge.

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