Pere Marquette
Pere Marquette 15

The PERE MARQUETTE 15 was built in 1896 by F.W. Wheeler Co. Designed by naval architect Robert Logan, she was 337 ft. x 56 ft., with four tracks and a capacity of 30 cars. The first steel-hulled carferry built for use on the open lakes, she set the standard for Great Lakes carferry design. As launched, she was named Pere Marquette. The number was officially added in 1924. She was laid-up in Ludington in 1930, and scrapped at Manitowoc in 1935.


Call Whistle -- Long-Short-Long
Captain -- Joseph Russell

From the Ludington Record-Appeal August 1902:

"The Pere Marquette carferries have a set of salute whistles which they now blow when entering port in such a manner as to distinguish them from one another.

NO. 17 blows one long and two short whistles; NO. 16 blows the regular three long whistles, although occasionally she sound two short and one long; NO. 15 blows one long, one short and one long whistle.

These varying salutes are recognized by the yard men and members of the families of the crews and are found a great convenience.

Mistakes are liable to occur in distinguishing NO.15 however since the steamer CHARLEVOIX also adopted the long, short, and long salute for this port, and the whistles of the two boats sound quite similar."


  •  December 30, 1896 --  The  carferry PERE MARQUETTE was launched in virtually completed form.
  • February 13, 1897 -- The PERE MARQUETTE sailed to Milwaukee for public inspection.
  • February 16, 1897 -- The  PERE MARQUETTE entered service in Ludington with Captain Joe Russell in command.
  • February 21, 1897 --  The PERE MARQUETTE struck the fishing tug T.W.FERRY at the dock of the Pere Marquette Lumber Company in Ludington, sinking the tug at her berth.
  • September 9, 1897 -- The Ludington Appeal reported that the carferry PERE MARQUETTE burned 30 tons of coal on a round trip to Milwaukee.

"During the recent spell of rough weather the carferry PERE MARQUETTE was given a severe test, which not only fully established her sea-going qualities, but also proved the practibility of handling and landing the big craft in a gale.

The weather on this shore both Wednesday and Thursday was violent and changeable and yet the ferry made her ususal two trips per day without interruption or mishap.  In spite of her large exposed surface, it is believed that she has sufficient power to take her to windward in almost any kind of weather.  It was found that she rolled considerably but not enough to move her cars or loosen their fastenings.

The greatest trouble in handling her was in landing.  No trouble was experienced at the Manitowoc slip, but at this point the exercise of great skill and care was necessary.

Capt. Dority is the third master the carferry has had, and he has a thorough knowlege and complete mastery of her.  Under his skillful management not a mishap has occurred.

The PERE MARQUETTE has undoubtedly proved a money maker for the FPM Co., and it is believed by many here that next year will see another vessel like her but larger plying between Ludington and Milwaukee."

The Ludington Record, November 1897

  • May 9, 1900 --  The PERE MARQUETTE started runs to Milwaukee.
  • May 28, 1900 -- About 12 miles off Manitowoc, PERE MARQUETTE 15 cut down the scow Silver Lake, sinking her with the loss of a life.
  • February 13, 1904 -- The PERE MARQUETTE left Ludington for Kewaunee but became stuck in the ice.  PERE MARQUETTE 18 was sent out to work her free, but could not find her and returned to Ludington

From the Ludington Chronicle, April 1905:

"Bert Leonardson and Charles Gulembo, who have the contract for painting the carferries, have completed the work on PERE MARQUETTE 15 and are now engaged on NO. 17, which they expect to finish this week."
  • January 5, 1920 -- The PERE MARQUETTE 15 departed Ludington but found it necessary to return to port due to bad weather.
  • January 20, 1920 -- The PERE MARQUETTE 15 was laid-up at Ludington because of the lack of east-bound freight.
  • November 15, 1924 -- The carferry PERE MARQUETTE was renamed PERE MARQUETTE 15.
  • December 29, 1924 -- The GRAND HAVEN and MILWAUKEE were sent out to break ice from around the grounded PERE MARQUETTE 19.  The PERE MARQUETTE 15 was placed back into service to replace the 19.
  • November 5, 1935 -- The PERE MARQUETTE 15 arrived Manitowoc to be scrapped, under the tow of the PERE MARQUETTE 18 (II).

Top of Page