S. S. Willis B. Boyer (Locate on Google Map)
In the shadow of the downtown Toledo skyline, moored alongside the rolling landscape of International Park, a splash of history and romance awaits you on the S.S. Willis B. Boyer. Careful, authentic restoration has made the ship come alive! Memorabilia, photography, and artifacts maintained and displayed by the Western Lake Erie Historical Society are all part of this nautical museum. The Boyer offers to all who visit the unique opportunity to experience the shipping lifestyle in a hands-on setting. As one of a few of its kind remaining, the Boyer will charm and intrigue you with its vastness, fascinating engineering design, and beautiful interior.
The steam ship Willis B. Boyer was built in 1911 in Ecorse, Michigan and was christened the Col. James M. Schoonmaker. She was owned by Shenango Furnace Company of Cleveland, Ohio. In 1969, she was purchased by the Interlake Steamship Company and chartered to Republic Steel. At this time, the ship's name was changed to honor Willis B. Boyer, who was president of the company. In 1972, the Boyer was sold to Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company and operated until the end of the 1980 season. She was purchased in June of 1986 by the City of Toledo for restoration as a museum ship, opening to the public on July 4, 1987.
When built, the Schoonmaker/Boyer was the largest bulk freighter on the Great Lakes. She is 617 feet long, 33 feet deep, and has 64-foot beam. She was rated at 8,603 gross tons with a carrying capacity of 15,000 tons. Her speed is 14.5 mph light and 13.7 mph loaded. The crew numbered about 23. Her first revenue trip was from Toledo to Sheboygan with 12,650 tons of coal - enough to fill about 357 railroad cars.