Coordinates: 43°33′N 79°35′W / 43.550°N 79.583°W / 43.550; -79.583

William E. Corey.jpg
The steamer William E. Corey after her launch
 United States
  • William E. Corey (1905-1963) United States
  • Ridgetown (1963-The present day) Canada
Namesake: William Ellis Corey
Port of registry:  United States, Fairport, Michigan
Builder: Chicago Shipbuilding Company
Yard number: 67
Launched: 24 March 1905
Completed: 1905
In service: 1905
Identification: U.S. Registry #202296
Fate: Sunk as a breakwater outside Port Credit, Ontario
Status: Breakwater
General characteristics
Class and type: Bulk freighter
Tonnage: 6363 gross 5045 net
Length: 569 ft (173 m)
Beam: 56 ft (17 m)
Height: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Installed power:Scotch marine boilers
Propulsion: 1,800 horsepower triple expansion steam engine attached to a single fixed pitch propeller
Speed: 10 knots
Crew: 29

William E. Corey was a steel-hulled propeller-driven American Great Lakes freighter that had a lengthy career on the Great Lakes of North America. She served from her launching in 1905 to her conversion to a breakwater in 1970. Today she is the fourth-oldest surviving laker on the Great Lakes after the Victorius (1895), the Douglas Houghton (1899) and the Howard L. Shaw (1900).


The Corey was a product of the Chicago Shipbuilding Company of Chicago, Illinois. The Corey was launched on March 24, 1905, as hull number #67. The Corey was one four almost identical vessels; the Elbert H. Gary and the Corey were both launched in Chicago, the Henry C. Frick launched in West Bay City, Michigan and the George W. Perkins launched in Superior, Wisconsin. All four vessels were the largest on the lakes at the time of their launch, hence the unofficial title Queen of the Lakes.

Mataafa Storm

The launch of the William E. Corey

Shortly after her launch the brand new Corey encountered one of the worst storms in Great Lakes history, the Mataafa Storm of 1905. On November 28, Corey was driven hard aground onto Gull Island Reef in the Apostle Islands. During a very short period of time the temperatures dropped to twelve degrees (Fahrenheit) below zero and the winds reached hurricane force. After the storm Corey was removed and repaired.[1]

The SS Ridgetown

The Ridgetown acts as the breakwater for the harbor.

Over the next fifty three years William E. Corey changed hands many times until in 1963 she was sold to the Upper Lakes Shipping Company and renamed Ridgetown.[2] The ship served for seven more years until in 1970 she was sunk as a breakwater at Port Credit, Ontario, where she remains to this day.[3][4]


  1. ^ "Corey, William E." Great Lakes Vessel History. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  2. ^ "RIDGETOWN".
  3. ^ "William E. Corey cargo-bulk carrier 1963-1970-Wrecksite".
  4. ^ AuroraRon (September 3, 2016). "RIDGETOWN SHIP - PORT CREDIT". Retrieved April 16, 2019 – via YouTube.

External links