Alpena in Alpena County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
The fleet during its “down time”
During the winter layup, sailors drained a ship's plumbing, plugged drains, covered lifeboats and deck equipment, and removed lines and tackle. Shipboard machinery was dismantled, inspected, and repaired. In wooden vessels, crewmen stood on the ice to caulk the hull planking. Sailing vessels required constant maintenance of their miles of rigging. Most "winter work" actually took place in early spring, when the waterfront came alive with the bustle of fitting out for the new season.
Locally owned ships lined Alpena's docks from the 1870s through the early 1900s. Lumber steamers and their tow barges lay on both sides of the Thunder Bay River each winter, while harbor tugs found space among them or in bayfront slips. Pleasure boats were pulled
Erected by Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Trail.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1910.
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 45° 3.768′ N, 83° 25.785′ W. Marker was in Alpena, Michigan, in Alpena County. Marker could be reached from North 1st Avenue north of Water Street when traveling north. Marker is located along the Alpena Bi-Path, at middle of South Riverfront Park, beside the Thunder Bay River, beyond the end of North 1st Avenue. Touch for map. Marker was at or near this postal address: 205 Water Street, Alpena MI 49707, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Winter Layup (here, next to this marker); The Third Ward (within shouting distance of this marker); Nordmeer (within shouting distance of this marker); Thunder Bay National Maritime Sanctuary (within shouting distance of this marker); Montana (within shouting distance of this marker); Alpena’s Second Avenue Bridge (about Welcome to the Alpena Water Level Station (about 300 feet away); Grecian (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Alpena.
More about this marker. Marker is a large composite plaque, mounted waist-high on a metal supporting rack.
Also see . . . Winter Layups Await for Spring. Alpena, Rogers City, Black River, Harrisville and dozens of similar small coastal communities played host to homeport vessels, as well as any other ship that came to load or unload cargo and was unable to leave the harbor before conditions turned sour. Thunder Bay River alone was often packed with three dozen or more lake craft of all varieties, some rafted together two or three deep for lack of dock space. Lumber schooners, steam barges, bulk and package freighters, harbor tugs, passenger propellers, and of course, a fleet of local fishing vessels could often be seen laid up together like sleeping behemoths. (Submitted on August 18, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 5, 2023. It was originally submitted on August 16, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 202 times since then and 71 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 18, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 7. submitted on September 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.