The commerce of the American Midwest has always been closely linked with the efficiency of Great Lakes transportation. Eighteenth-century fur trade, 19th century agriculture, lumbering and mining were all dependent upon the developing Lakes shipping industry for their fast-growing success. It was with the introduction of highly-efficient purpose-built bulk freight steamers in 1869, however, that those industries grew as never before, and brought unprecedented growth to the region. Labadie describes the introduction and subsequent development of these iconic Great Lakes vessels, and their effect on the Midwest.
Main Image: Monohansett: Historic image of the bulk freighter Monohansett, built in 1872. (Thunder Bay Sanctuary Research Collection)