Ludington Daily News Feb. 11, 1995
Ludington resident saw their first carferry in 1895
On Feb. 14, 1895, the carferry Ann Arbor No. 2 visited Ludington. This was the first time many local residents saw a carferry.
Although small by modern standards, the Ann Arbor No. 2 was thought of as a large vessel at the time she visited Ludington. She was built in 1892 by the Craig Ship Building Company at Toledo, Ohio. A wooden steamer of 1,145 gross tons, she measured 278 feet in length with a beam of 53 feet. She was built with a bow propeller for ice breaking and her hull was sheathed with steel up to a point four feet above the waterline. The vessel could carry 24 railroad freight cars.
On her maiden voyage the Ann Arbor No. 2 arrived at Frankfort on Dec. 31, 1892. She was placed in service almost immediately by her owner, the Toledo, Ann Arbor & North Michigan Railway.
After breaking out of heavy ice at Frankfort, the Ann Arbor No. 2 called at Ludington for coal on Feb. 14, 1895. On that day the Ludington Record said:
“Ann Arbor No. 2, the gigantic and queer craft constructed expressly to convey trains of cars across the lake between Frankfort, Mich., and Kewaunee, Wis., managed to escape from the ice fields along the coast and ran into Ludington for coal supplies. While in port today crowds of people went to the docks to see the monster. The main deck is housed over and a double track accommodates the cars which are run in from the stern, which is open for that purposes.”
During 1895 the TAA&NM was reorganized as the Ann Arbor Railroad. New ferry routes were inaugurated to Menominee in 1894, to Gladstone in 1895 and to Manitowoc in 1896. Sailings to Manistique replaced the run to Gladstone in 1902.
It was found that the bow propeller was ineffective in breaking the sheet of the open lake. Consequently, in 1896 the bow propeller and forward engine was removed from the Ann Arbor No. 2. The forward stack was removed and the aft stack was increased in height so as to improve draft for the vessel's boilers.
During the winter of 1906-07 the Ann Arbor 2 was at Milwaukee to have hull strengthened. After making her last revenue trip on Sept. 29, 1912, the vessel was laid up in Frankfort harbor.
After months of idleness, she was sold to the Manistee Iron Works in December 1913. Towed to Manistee, the Ann Arbor No. 2 was cut down to her hull and converted to a bulk freight barge.
In 1916 the Ann Arbor No. 2 was sold to the Nicholson Transit Company. Renamed Whale, she was converted to a sandsucker dredge by the Great Lakes Engineering Works at Ecorse. She was later owned by the United Fuel & Supply Company. In 1927 the old vessel was abandoned following a collision with the steamer William E. Corey in the St. Clair Flats Canal.