Steamship Society tries to save JB Ford: 110 year old steamship

By KBJR News 1

December 12, 2013 Updated Dec 12, 2013 at 11:26 PM CDT

Superior, Wis. (NNCNOW.com) -- Thursday marked the 110 year anniversary of the JB Ford. When it first took o the Great Lakes in 1903 it was known as the Edwin F. Holmes.

"It is the oldest floating freighter on the Great Lakes. In fact it's the first freighter to reach 110 years of age in the history of all of the great lakes," said Jim Sumstad a Member of the Great Lake Steamship Society.

The ship has been sitting at Connor's Point ship yard since 2000.

It was used a storage barge until 2005 and now sits unused.

Now, members of the Great Lakes Steamship Society are trying to raise money to restore the ship and turn it into a museum for Alpina Mich.

"The city itself and a lot of the residents of the city have shown their support and say that once we get the ship and if we come forward with a good proper business plan. They are very very open to the idea and excited about getting a museum ship in Alpina," said Steve Harverty, President of the Steamship Society.

The society has been working with Lafarge, who currently owns the ship. Lafarge has given the society a chance to come up with the funds to clean it up.

"We've got until September of 2014 is what they said. They are basically looking at options for scrap," said Haverty.

Right now the steam ship society is hoping to raise $500,000 in order to clean up asbestos on the ship.

"If we can prove that we have the financial capability to deal with the asbestos we have almost a 100 percent chance of saving the ship at least in the short term until we can prove that it's self sufficient," said Harverty.

The society has secured about $2,500 so far and will be holding a Golf Tournament at the Black Bear Casino August 24, 2014.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.