Wednesday, March 4, 2015

ISLAND WATERFRONT - Then and Now - Part IX

Another photo from the Herschberger family album from the 1920s.
A crowd is assembled on Gislason dock in Jensenville,
presumably to greet passengers arriving by ferry.
Do you recognize anyone?
Washington Island, Wisconsin -

Before moving on to new territory, I need to make a few additions and corrections.

Thanks to additional information from Ann Young we have more names to add for the photo below, taken by a member of the Herschberger family.  (Most negatives are still in the family's possession, according to Ann.)

More identifications:  Besides Gordon Jepson in pilot house window (son of ferry
owner William Jepson),  from left are:   Charles "Buzz" Gislason, brother
Gene Gislason, unknown man, Ruth Herschberger, Harriet
(Herschberger) Platzman, and unknown lady.
Charles and Gene were sons of Ruth and Lawrence Gislason.   Charles was named, we suppose, for the brother of Lawrence who died and received posthumously the Croix de Guerre from the French government for losing his life in WWI.   The Island's Gislason-Richter American Legion Post 402 was named  in Charles' memory.  (Ludlow Richter was killed in WWII.)

Gene had an illustrious career in the U. S. Coast Guard, and he was decorated for bravery in landing craft operations at Normandy.  He retired with the rank of Captain.  One of Gene's retirement projects was to tabulate information about as many Washington Island working craft as possible.   His tablet of information was edited, and added to, by Hannes Anderson, himself a retired U. S. Navy Captain.

Do you remember the photo of an early ferry or island freighter under sail?  (See the Feb. 17th posting for a photo)    The name on the bow is too small to be read.  Ann Young thought it might be the Wisconsin, but there were a number of small freighters that had a similar look, and most of them had curved lifeboat davits mounted on the wheelhouse.   From Eric Bonow came the suggestion it might be the Marion, also used for a brief time period as a ferry.  He offered the photo below as a comparison, noting the rather "blocky" aft house that was partially enclosed by a weather curtain (which the vessel in the other photo also displays).  In this photo, too, a steadying sail is bent on, ready to be hoisted when away from port and on course with fair winds.   I give the nod to the Marion.

Marion at unidentified pier, year unknown.  

Anyway, this is another interesting photo.   In the foreground, is that a float for working on vessels, or an early channel marker of some sort?  And speaking of channel markers, what is that float with raised structure in our top photo, tucked behind the Gislason pier?   Could it also be a private channel marker set out by the ferry operator or commercial fishermen?

Finally, in a correction, I must withdraw my comments regarding the Goodrich Steamer photo having been submitted in Fred Richter's application for the Elbow Light.  It was not a part of his application. (See blog posted March 3rd)  An error by someone else in combining the two was then compounded by my wrong assumption.  However, I'll stand by my statement that no vessel of that size (length and draft) ever fit itself into Detroit Harbor!

I think we've cleared the decks now and can steam ahead into future blogs.  But keep the comments coming - and photos, if you have any.   Google makes it hard to respond to these blogs, but I also receive occasional comments by private email.  Let me know if its OK to reprint them in the comment section.   I'm not comfortable in reprinting them or using your name without your permission.

-  Dick Purinton

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