SS Lakeland

Cambria sailing.jpg
The Lakeland when she was named Cambria
 United States
  • Cambria 1887–1910
  • Lakeland 1910–1925
Operator:Tri-State Steamship Company
Builder:Globe Iron Works Company
Yard number:12
Launched:February 1, 1887
In service:June 1, 1887
Out of service:December 3, 1924
Identification:U.S. Registry #126420[1]
Fate:Sank on Lake Michigan
General characteristics
Class and type:Bulk Freighter
Length:300.6 feet (91.6 m)[1]
Beam:39 feet (12 m)[1]
Depth:24 feet (7.3 m)[2]
Installed power:2 × Scotch marine boilers
Propulsion:1,200 horsepower triple expansion steam engine
LAKELAND (steam screw) Shipwreck
SS Lakeland is located in Wisconsin
SS Lakeland
SS Lakeland is located in the US
SS Lakeland
LocationDoor County, Wisconsin
Nearest citySturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Coordinates44°47.34′N 87°11.32′W / 44°47.34′N 87°11.32′W / 44.78900; -87.18867
ArchitectGlobe Iron Works Company
Architectural styleFreighter
Added to NRHPJuly 7, 2015

The SS Lakeland was an early steel-hulled Great Lakes freighter that sank on December 3, 1924, into 205 feet (62 m) of water on Lake Michigan near Sturgeon Bay, Door County, Wisconsin, United States, after she sprang a leak. On July 7, 2015, the wreck of the Lakeland was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[4]


The Lakeland (official number 126420) was built in 1887 in Cleveland, Ohio, by the Globe Iron Works Company as the first generation steel Great Lakes freighter Cambria.[5] She was originally built for the Mutual Transportation Company which was controlled by Federal Steel Company that was owned by Elbert H. Gary.[2] She had an overall length of 300.6 feet (91.6 m), she was 280 feet (85 m) between her perpendiculars, her beam was 39 feet (12 m) wide and her cargo hold was 24 feet (7.3 m) deep.[2] She was powered by a 1,200 horsepower triple expansion steam engine which was fueled by two coal burning Scotch marine boilers. She had a gross tonnage of 1878.10 tons and a net tonnage of 1377.33 tons.[2]

The Cambria was launched in Cleveland on February 1, 1887, as hull number #12.[2] At the time of her construction she was only the second lake freighter built by Globe Iron Works Company to have a steel hull. She was also the first lake freighter equipped with a triple expansion steam engine.[4] She was used to haul bulk cargoes such as iron ore, coal, grain, salt and later automobiles.[4]

In June 1888 the Cambria ran aground two miles (3.2 km) southwest of Peninsula Point Light on Lake Michigan with a cargo of iron ore weighing 2,334 tons. The grounding tore a hole in her hull.[5]

The Lakeland as a passenger steamer circa 1915

In 1910 the Cambria was taken to the Milwaukee Dry Dock Company to be converted to a passenger vessel, but the Milwaukee Dry Dock Company was unable to complete the conversion. Eventually the wrecking tug towed her to Cleveland for the conversion to be finished.[5]

In May 1910 she was renamed Lakeland. In September 1910 the Lakeland collided with the steam barge John Smeaton in the St. Marys River.[5] She ran aground after the collision. In early 1920 the Lakeland was converted from a passenger ship to an automobile carrying vessel.[5]

The Lakeland did not sail for the 1923 season because she had a major overhaul.[5] She had her boiler room moved; she also had a brand new watertight bulkhead installed. The other new things included two new Scotch marine boilers, and a new pilothouse. She also had her ballast pump repaired, and several cracked frames replaced.[5] In the fall of 1924 the Lakeland went into a dry dock in Detroit, Michigan, to have a twisted rudder stock repaired; the inspectors also examined her entire hull and her rudder.[5]

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