S.S. Milwaukee Clipper (Muskegon, West)
In 1904 (predating the building of the RMS TITANIC by seven years) the Erie & Western Transportation Company, better known as the Anchor Line, commissioned the American Shipbuilding Company of Cleveland, Ohio, to build a 361 foot passenger and package freight steamer for service on the Great Lakes . Her name was JUNIATA, and she was powered by a 3,000 horsepower Quadruple Expansion steam engine, built by the Detroit Shipbuilding Company of Detroit, Michigan (one of only seven such engines built for Great Lakes passenger service). Carrying 350 passengers in staterooms, the JUNIATA was the epitome of first class travel and sailed between Buffalo, New York, and Duluth, Minnesota. Highly varnished mahogany woodwork and wicker furniture was in evidence, and a great oak staircase greeted passengers boarding the steamer, and cuisine worthy of the finest hotels awaited them. Twice remodeled to suit the Great Lakes passenger trade, the JUNIATA operated on the Great Lakes through the 1936 season. In 1937, when new safety features were instituted for passenger ships of American registry, the JUNIATA was retired from service because of her wooden superstructure. In the late 1930s Max McKee and Mark McKee of the Sand Products Corp. of Muskegon conceived the plan of building a new steamer for cross lake service but because of higher than estimated construction costs they had noted Naval Architect George G. Sharpe redesign the plans so they could be incorporated into an existing ship. The ship they purchased was JUNIATA . Late in 1940 the JUNIATA was taken to the yards of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company where her wooden superstructure was removed and replaced by an all steel, streamlined, superstructure, the first design of its type in the world. Completely fireproof, the new ship featured air conditioned staterooms, a children's playroom, a movie theatre, and live entertainment, complete with dance floor. On June 2, 1941 her name was changed to S. S. MILWAUKEE CLIPPER, and on June 3rd she made her maiden voyage to Muskegon .
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