Boblo: many watch as childhood memories decay

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Boy does this bring back memories – but not memories that look like this. Here sit the two boats that ferried passengers to Bob Lo Amusement Park outside of Detroit for over eight decades. In spite of their current appearance, there are some remarkable facts that go with these ships.

First of all, they’re the last two remaining propeller driven excursion steamships in the entire country. This type of ferry was popular back in the early 1900′s but now is part of boating history. They also have the longest record of service on a single of run of any vessel in the US. These ships were taken out of active service in 1991. A conservation group in New York has plans to relocate Columbia to the Hudson River for restoration, while the corporation Maximus is restoring the Ste. Claire – which you can see behind the Columbia in the above picture. While the New York group claims to still be moving forward to restore the Columbia, as you can tell time is certainly against them. Most of the wrapping has torn away, exposing the Columbia to all of the harsh elements that Michigan has to offer.

These ships have offered so many happy memories to so many people for so many years that it’s a shame to see them disintegrating and left in this condition. But these are far from the only classic items left rotting from Detroit’s heyday. Only time will tell if either restoration effort is full successful, and these boats can continue making happy memories for another generation.

Used with permission from Chris Horner

Chris Horner

About Chris Horner

Chris Horner is an award winning freelance photographer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He specializes in fine art images and commercial photography.