SS Milwaukee

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The SS Milwaukee was a train ferry that served on Lake Michigan. It was launched in 1902 and sank with all hands off Milwaukee on 22 October 1929. 52 men were lost with the vessel.

On the Milwaukee run: 1908–1929

The Milwaukee shuttled railroad cars back and forth from Milwaukee to the Grand Trunk Railway's dock in Grand Haven in western Michigan. This route enabled shippers to avoid the crowded railroad yards and sidings of Chicago. The Milwaukee was home-ported in the city for which it was named. The docks of the Grand Trunk Milwaukee Car Ferry Company were located on the Kinnickinnic River, and their ferries were familiar sights to residents of Jones Island.

October, 1929

Shortly before 2:00 pm on 21 October 1929, the Milwaukee sailed off on Lake Michigan into a storm bound for Grand Haven, and was lost. The Milwaukee was last seen passing by U.S. Lightship 95 (LV-95/WAL-519), a ship anchored three miles offshore, serving as a lighthouse. The Milwaukee was reported to be pitching and rolling heavily as it disappeared into the rainy mist. The ship did not have radio equipment. It was considered routine for the Milwaukee to challenge the storm. The theory is that its cargo of 25–27 railroad cars came loose in the gale and crashed through the sea gate, allowing water to come in over the stern and sink her. The captain, Robert H. McKay, apparently turned back for Milwaukee, but never made it.

On 24 October, aircraft searched Lake Michigan, but found...
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