Steamship City of Detroit III - A Floating Masterpiece

One of the Largest Sidewheel Steamships on the Great Lakes

City of Detroit III Underway
City of Detroit III - Underway- Library of Congress

In Thumbwind's popular post;  Great Lakes Cruising History – Luxurious Times, it pointed out that by the 1870s competition was forcing shipping  companies to go beyond the bare bones of transport and create an experience for the travelling passenger or tourist. By the early 1900s the golden era of steamship travel was in full swing and the race to put larger ships into service was evident.

The City of Detroit III was part of the Detroit & Cleveland Steamboat Line. The steamer was designed and built in 1911 by Frank E. Kirby. Kirby was considered  the greatest naval architect of the Great Lakes. Called the "D-3" the ship operated from May 1912 until 1950.

D-III Ran from Detroit to Buffalo New York - Library of Congress

The ship was built by the Detroit Shipbuilding Company in Wyandotte, Michigan and launched on Oct. 7, 1911. Costing an estimated $1.5 million, ($32m today) it was the largest paddle wheel ship on the Great Lakes at the time.  Standing over 50 feet high with a hull length of 455 feet. The paddle wheel was about 30 feet across and 8 feet wide. 

A Luxurious Interior Matching Ocean Liners - the Gothic Room

One of the highlights of the ship was the mens smoking lounge call the Gothic Room. Situated around one of the smoke stacks the work and glass made the lounge a standout for the travelling public.

D-III's Gothic Room Salon Lounge
D-III's Gothic Room Salon Lounge - Library of Congress


D-III's Gothic Room Fore Deck with Chandler  - Library of Congress
D-III's Gothic Room Fore Deck with Chandler  - Library of Congress


Tiffany Stained Glass of de LaSalle - Library of Congress

A highlight of the interior is a stained-glass window cromerating RenĂ©-Robert Cavelier de LaSalle’s landing in Detroit. The lounge also contained a pipe organ and fireplaces for chilly days. 

The Staterooms Elegance on the Great Lakes


For overnight trips between Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo state rooms were available.  There were 25 parlor staterooms each with its own bathroom and veranda. Trimmed in local hardwoods and equipped with state of the art electric fans and lights. It was a first class accommodation in by today's standards.

City of Detroit III Presidents Stateroom - Library of Congress


D-III also had 21 semi-parlors with private baths and 477 small staterooms. Travelers in the small rooms would have a bunk and share a bathroom.

The Palm Court

The Palm Court offered travellers an open sheltered area to get out of the chill and wind of the outside decks.

City of Detroit III Palm Court
City of Detroit III Palm Court Looking Aft - Library of Congress

Located in the upper deck in the stern, it was furnished with wicker chairs and decorated with fresh flowers and an ivy-covered trellis with leaded glass along the upper sconces of the walls.

City of Detroit III Palm Court Looking Forward
City of Detroit III Palm Court Looking Forward - Library of Congress

The Grand Salon

Boarding passengers would pass through the Grand Salon on their way to their assigned state rooms.

City of Detroit III Grand Salon Foreward
City of Detroit III Grand Salon Foreward - Library of Congress

Two grand staircases on each end were graced with large classical paintings topped with a frieze.

City of Detroit III Grand Salon Ceiling
City of Detroit III Grand Salon  Ceiling - Library of Congress

On the fore end, with two prone women with tridents. The walls hosted smaller painting of nymphs and angels.

City of Detroit III Grand Salon Aft
City of Detroit III Grand Salon Aft - Library of Congress

Noted  muralist William de Leftwich Dodge lead the effort beautify the salon using mythical characters and soft colors that brightened the interior.

City of Detroit III - Mural
City of Detroit III Grand Salon Mural of Siren with Pan - Library of Congress

The focal point of the Salon was a mural of Siren with Pan. Dodge created the Siren mural inspired after beauty of America's first supermodel, Audrey Munson

On Deck of the City of Detroit III

City of Detroit III - Pilot House
City of Detroit III Pilot House - Library of Congress

City of Detroit III - Hurricane Deck
City of Detroit III - Hurricane Deck - Library of Congress




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President Nixon Visits Bad Axe Michigan, April 10, 1974

President Richard Visit to Michigan's Thumb

Richard M. Nixon
Richard M. Nixon
During the Spring of 1974 the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover-up was still unfolding but yet to fully engulf the nation. However, the break-in was in the news and the President wanted to hit the road with a campaign day. A special election was to be held for a House seat pitting popular Republican James M. Sparing against Democrat J. Bob Traxler in Michigan's Eighth Congressional District. It was an opportunity for some good news that Nixon was desperate for. 

The trip started in Saginaw and then crossed the Thumb with stops in Bad Axe, Cass City and Sandusky. The New York Times coverage of the event describe the crowds as curious and numbering in the several thousand as the President spoke at each stop.

This Diary of events comes from the Nixon Presidential Library in California.

April 10th 1974

9:12 am - The President went to the South Grounds of the White House.

9:16 am - The President flew by helicopter from the South Grounds of the White House to Andrews AFB, Maryland.

9:31 am - The President flew by the Spirit of '76" from Andrews AFB Maryland to the Tri-City Airport, Freeland, Hichigan.

10:55 am - The President deplaned.

11:11 am - The President addressed members of the crowd assembled for his arrival

11:29 am - The President flew by helicopter from Tri-City Airport, Freeland to Huron County Airport, Bad Axe.

12:06 pm - The President participated in a campaign motorcade through Michigan's Eighth Congressional District from Huron County Airport, Bad Axe to Sandusky City Airport. The President
was accompanied by James Sparling, Republican candidate for Michigan's Eighth Congressional District.

12:11 pm - The Presidential motorcade arrived at the Huron County Courthouse, Bad Axe.

12:23 pm - The President addressed members of the crowd.

1:20 pm - The Presidential motorcade arrived at Cass City.

1:27 pm - The President addressed members of the crowd.

2:45 pm - The Presidential motorcade arrived at the Sanilac County Courthouse, Sandusky.

2:50 pm - The President addressed members of the crowd.

3:00 pm The Presidential motorcade arrived at the Sandusky City Airport.
  • The President bade farewell to Mr. Sparling.
3:02 pm - The President flew by helicopter from Sandusky City Airport to Bay City Airport.

  • The President greeted local Republican officials:
  • Creighton Holden, Republican National Committeeman
  • Ranny Reicker, Republican National Committee
  • Jerry Rpe, State Republican Executive Director
  • Mildred Dunnell, Republican State Vice Chairman
  • Jerry Nissley, Saginaw County Republican Campaign Director
  • Mrs. Elmer Smith, Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee

3:52 pm - The President flew by the "Spirit of '76" from Bay City Airport, Michigan to Ahdrews AFB, Maryland.

  • The President met with Senator Robert P. Griffin (R-Michigan), Congressman Elford A. Cederberg (R-Michigan)

4:56 pm - The President deplaned.

5:05 pm - The President flew by helicopter from Andrews AFB, Maryland to the South Grounds of the White House.

5:17 pm - The President returned to the second floor Residence.

Plaque at the Huron County Courthouse


Source

Richard Nixon's Daily Diary April 1-10, 1974



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Two Views of Cass City in 1930 & 2020 - A Transition of Time

Two Views of Cass City

Cass City Michigan Postcard 1930
Cass City Michigan 1930
This amazing west-facing view of Cass City Road in Cass City has stayed somewhat unchanged for the past 90 years. Some of the buildings remain, many have been remodeled. However, the ornate trim and front facades and balconies are long gone.
Cass City 2020 from Google Earth

The New Sheridan Hotel

The three-story building on the left was the Sheridan Hotel built-in 1895 by Michael Sheridan. It was considered a skyscraper in its day. Constructed of iron, brick, and glass and topped with a distinctive "witches cap". This Victorian-era structure was a common project in successful smaller towns across America and it was a point of pride for the residents of Cass City.
Cass City's Sheridan Hotel - From The American Skyscraper, 1850-1940: A Celebration of Height


Old Sheridan Hotel 2020 - Google Earth





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