S.S. William A. IrvinThe erstwhile ore boat, The William Irvin is now a floating museum anchored in downtown Duluth, MN.
S.S. William A. Irvin Ore Boat Museum
The SS William A Irvin -- flagship of the US Steel Fleet -- was built in the late 1930's [and launched on June 25, 1938] just as the shipping industry was coming out of a long recession and prior to the WWII shipbuilding frenzy. She was named after the company president at the time.
The William A. Irvin sailed without incident* for forty years. On August 27, 1940 she set a record by unloading 13,856 tons of ore in just 2 hours and 55 minutes -- an astonishing accomplishment for a boat using shore equipment only. And that record stands to this day.
Her successful forty years of service fulfilled the wishes of her namesake: "She will be a triumph of safety, comfort, and capacity."
At the end of 1978 shipping season, the Irvin was retired for economic reasons. Specifically she was a slow boat with small holds and had no self-unloading capability.
The Irwin was saved from the scrapping torch only because of her status as a flagship. In 1986 she took on a new role as a tourist attraction for Duluth, Minnesota. Today she is berthed at a former WWII shipbuilding slip where she is visited by thousands every year. She has become the proud figurehead of Duluth's waterfront and offers a glimpse into the world of the merchant mariner.
Length: 611 ft
Beam: 60 ft
Draft: 33 ft
Speed: 11 mph
Displaced: 22,000 tons maximum
Cargo: Ore 14,088 Tons -- Coal 11,612 Tons -- Grain 10,500 Tons
Engines: Delaval Cross Steam Turbines 2000hp
["Bulk Carrier 'William A. Irvin'." All Wood Wings:
Quality Model Ships & Airplanes Handcrafted from Wood N.
vol. (15 July 2004): 5 pars. Online. Internet. 22 Aug. 2004.
*On April 11, 1964, while up bound on Whitefish Bay, Lake Superior, a boiler burst on board the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.'s William A. Irvin, killing one of the crew and injuring two others.
["Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive March 2009." Boatnerd. 16 Apr. 2009. 22 Nov. 2009 <http://www.boatnerd.com/news/archive/3-09.htm>.]
|There is an anchor on the opposite bank. Note the draft markings in feet on her prow.|
|At her present mooring, The William Irvin carries no ballast, so her propeller is visible.|
|She has 18 hatches. 16 covers can be lifted by the white crane, which follows tracks on the deck. The other two (not shown) are of a troublesome, motorized, telescoping variety.|