Black and white photograph showing what appears to be an aerial view of Lake Macatawa and Holland, Michigan. Notice the Georgian Bay ships in the lower right corner. It appears that Lake Macatawa is iced over.
The Georgian Bay Ships
The Alabama, the South American and the North American were all cruise ships owned by the Chicago, Duluth and Georgian Bay Transit Co. The ships sailed the Great Lakes during the summer months on cruises lasting anywhere from two days up to two weeks.
Various cities played a role in the cruises, as starting points, stopping points or destinations in-between. The list of Great Lakes cities included the following: Chicago, IL; Duluth, MN; Munising, MI; Mackinac Island; Sault St. Marie, MI; Detroit, MI; Cleveland, OH; Buffalo, NY; and, Toronto, Ontario.
In 1963, a 5 day cruise aboard the South American from Detroit to Duluth and back cost $154.50 per adult.
For decades, all three ships would dock in Holland, MI for the winter.
The Alabama was the smallest of the three ships. Crowned “Queen of the Great Lakes” when built in 1910, the Alabama was laid up in 1942 and sold in 1945 for service on Lake Erie.
In 1947 Georgian Bay reclaimed the Alabama and used it for service as a floating warehouse. The Alabama was docked at Montello Park for years, slowly deteriorating. In 1960 it was sold for salvage.
The SS South American was built in 1913 and launched on February 21, 1914. It caught fire on September 9, 1924 in winter lay-up at Holland, Michigan. Her upper works were rebuilt that winter.
Retired from regular passenger service in 1967, the South American was scrapped in 1992.
The SS North American was built in 1913 and launched on January 16, 1913.
In 1923 the boilers were converted to burn oil. In 1963 the North American was sold to the Canadian Holiday Co. of Erie, Pennsylvania. The company used her in cross-lake service between Erie, Pennsylvania and Port Dover, Ontario for one year until she was retired in 1964.
In 1967 the North American sank in heavy seas off Nantucket Island while being towed to Maryland. The wreckage was discovered in the summer of 2008.
Randall P. "Randy" Vande Water was born in Zeeland, MI on 3-5-1930 to Bill and Kathryn (Kitty Van Ry) Vande Water. The Vande Waters moved to Holland in 1937. He graduated from Holland High School in 1948 and Hope College in 1952.
He edited the Fort Bliss, TX News from 1952-1954 during the Korean conflict and announced the Fourth Army Boxing Tournament on the Armed Forces Radio Network. In 1948 he started announcing The Holland Evening Sentinel local news on WHTC, continuing through his college years.
He spent 4 decades at the Holland Sentinel working as sports editor, city editor, editorial page editor, and managing editor. Randy also authored or co-authored several books on Holland area history.
During those years Vande Water gave numerous illustrated lectures to civic, church and college groups on various subjects relating to the area’s history. He authored a four-volume series of Holland Happenings, Heroes and Hot Shots, Millennium Memories, Holland the Tulip Town, Zeeland, A Walk Through Time, 100 Years of Hope College Basketball, A Century of Heinz Holland, Holland Furnace Co. and the Holland American Band.
Randall (Randy) P. Vande Water, age 88, of Holland, passed away Friday, June 22, 2018.