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Ludington Daily News Nov. 30, 1962

Recently the carferry Arthur K. Atkinson was seized by federal marshals at her dock in Elberta, which is just across the bay from Frankfort.

This old carferry has had an interesting career. Laid down in 1916 as the Maitland No. 2 for Lake Erie service, she was sold while unfinished and by the time was was completed she was the Ann Arbor No. 6.

She was typical of her day. Measuring 350 feet in length and 56 feet in beam, she was powered by two triple-expansion steam engines totaling 2,500 h. p. This gave her a speed of 14 miles per hour.

On Jan. 15, 1917, she began her maiden voyage when she left Ecorse. Ice conditions on the Great lakes were so severe that she didn't reach Frankfort until Feb. 1. By the spring of 1917 she had broken 33 propeller blades in the ice.

After many years of service, it was decided to modernize her. In June of 1956 she was sent to Manitowoc, where she was lengthened 34 feet. Her old engines were removed and replaced by two Nordberg diesels totaling 5,500 h. p. which boosted her speed to over 18 miles an hour.

Externally, she was given a new pilot house and her crew quarters were improved. Her twin stacks were remodeled as one conical stack, similar to the Ludington carferries. She was renamed the Arthur K. Atkinson, in honor of the president of the Wabash railroad.

After the $2,305,000 rebuilding job, the Atkinson returned to service on March 14, 1959. She continued in operation until major engine failure caused her to be laid up in 1973.

For a time it was speculated that the Atkinson would never sail again. However, in 1979 repairs were begun and in the summer of 1980 she returned to service.

Unfortunately the deepening recession caused her and the other Ann Arbor carferries to be laid up. The operator of the line, Michigan Interstate Railroad, suspended all carferry service of Frankfort in April.

Because the Atkinson is owned by the State of Michigan, she was seized by federal marshals Nov. 9 because of a debt of $186,000 that Michigan Interstate alleges is owned to it by the state. There is now speculation that the carferry, valued at $5 million, may be sold at an auction.