Up in the helicopter shooting aerials, the pilot and I were on our way back to the airport flying south along Lake Michigan’s shoreline. Passing over East Chicago, a large shipping vessel was making its way inland, so we quickly flew out and over the ship so I could snap a few pictures. I had no idea what I was going to do with the pictures, but up in the air everything looks a little bit more fun.
Once on the ground and after importing pictures into my computer, I zoomed in to see the name of the boat. I was curious what it was and what I could find out about it online. I did the same with pictures taken while at the Panama Canal, but none of the ships we saw had anything posted online about them. This wasn’t the case with the above picture.
As timing and luck would have it, the ship I took pictures of was the St. Mary’s Challenger. Launched February 6th, 1906 as the William P. Snyder, and eventually renamed the St. Mary’s Challenger (after a few other names through the years), it is the oldest operating freighter on the Great Lakes. As of now, the ship is 106 six year old and it’s endured its bit of history; among other things, the ship has run aground, rescued boaters from the water and been hit by a water spout. In a century of service the ship continues to forge on, reliably running cement throughout the Great Lakes.