after the Swiss
lake and canton. The ship was built in 1873 by Parsons &
Humble of Tonawanda, N.Y., for N.O. Winslow at a reported
cost of $55,000.
|The Lucerne was
large for its day, at almost 195 feet. It had three masts,
a sharp, elegant clipper bow with a scroll
head, and a square stern.
The Lucerne was launched on April
23, 1873. Seven days later the ship was enrolled in Buffalo,
N.Y., with James Dwyer as
The schooner, designed to hold 52,000
of corn, went into service chiefly as a grain hauler. Later
in its career it hauled coal and iron ore.
The Lucerne changed owners several
times. In 1886, a Cleveland group including James and John
Corrigan purchased the Lucerne.
Corrigan brothers were well-known lake skippers and prosperous,
enterprising Cleveland industrialists. Capt. James Corrigan
began sailing the Great Lakes at age 17 and later worked in
oil refining. He developed several of his own refining processes
and plants, which he subsequently sold to Standard Oil. He
conducted oil exploration in Austria-Hungary with his brother
in the early 1880s and at the time of the Lucerne purchase
was obtaining controlling interests in Lake Superior iron
mines and smelting furnaces. At the zenith of his career,
James Corrigan owned some of the largest U.S. oil refineries
outside of Standard Oil, had some of the biggest vessels on
the Great Lakes and was one of the leading independent iron
manufacturers in the United States.
But the Lucerne
proved to be a fleeting acquisition. Before the end of its
first season in the iron-ore trade, the vessel and its entire
crew would be lost to a Lake Superior
sail with the Lucerne on its final voyage