The Ann Arbor #1
was a 260 foot long wooden car ferry that could carry up to 24 railroad cars. The Ann Arbor #1
was a type of car ferry built for long trips on open water. She had four tracks on her deck, enabling her to carry 24 cars at a speed of 14 knots. She had an oak hull, with steel sheeting reaching up to four feet above the water line along with a bow propeller for breaking ice. The car ferries on Lake Michigan originally traveled year-round, and therefore ice was a primary concern.
The wooden car ferry Ann Arbor #1
besides carrying railroad cars also was known to carry lumber, grain and even meat and butter. She had an eventful history, often getting trapped in the ice and loosing cars in storms. One major event was when she became trapped in ice at Manitowoc in Martch of 1910 and caught fire. She burned to a total loss in excess of $150,000.00 with twenty plus railroad cars of lumber. She was then towed to the breakwater and sunk. She was then later raised and the burned hull was sold in 1911. She then was rebuilt as a barge and used as a sandsucker.
Last Document of Enrollment Surrendered 3/31/1910, Grand Haven: "Vessel Lost"
On March 8, 1910, the Ann Arbor
caught fire at the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad car ferry slip in Manitowoc loaded with 27 railroad cars loaded with lumber. The crew and Manitowoc Fire Department fought the fire all night, and by noon the next day the vessel had burned to the water line and was a total loss. Vessel was estimated at $147,000 and cargo $34,000. She was towed out of the slip and sunk by the south breakwater in 15 feet of water, where a later unsuccessful attempt to salvage her engines was made. In 1911 the Coast Guard considered the vessel to be a menace to navigation and ordered it removed. On June 9, 1911, the Smith Wrecking Company from Muskegon, Michigan raised the badly burned and mangled hull and delivered her to Muskegon, Mich., to become a sand scow for the Love Construction Company.