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
  • William E. Corey (1905–1963) United States
  • Ridgetown (1963–1970) 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
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 (1,300 kW) triple expansion steam engine attached to a single fixed pitch propeller
Speed: 10 knots
Crew: 29

SS William E. Corey was a steel-hulled propeller-driven Great Lakes freighter that had a lengthy career on the Great Lakes. 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 Victorius (1895), Douglas Houghton (1899) and Howard L. Shaw (1900).


William E. Corey was a product of the Chicago Shipbuilding Company of Chicago, Illinois. William E. Corey was launched on March 24, 1905, as hull number #67. The laker was one of four almost identical vessels; Elbert H. Gary and William E. Corey were both launched in Chicago, Henry C. Frick launched in West Bay City, Michigan and 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 William E. Corey

Shortly after her launch the brand new William E. Corey encountered one of the worst storms in Great Lakes history, the Mataafa Storm of 1905. On November 28, William E. Corey was driven hard aground onto Gull Island Reef in the Apostle Islands. During a very short period of time the temperatures dropped to −12 °F (−24 °C) and the winds reached hurricane force. After the storm William E. Corey was removed and repaired.[1]

SS Ridgetown

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 when she was scuttled as a temporary breakwater at Nanticoke, Ontario in the summer. Later refloated at an unknown date. In the summer of 1974 she was scuttled as a breakwater at Port Credit, Ontario.[3][4]


  1. ^ "Corey, William E." Great Lakes Vessel History. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  2. ^ "RIDGETOWN".
  3. ^ "Ridgetown (+1970)". Wrecksite. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  4. ^ AuroraRon (September 3, 2016). "RIDGETOWN SHIP - PORT CREDIT". Retrieved April 16, 2019 – via YouTube.

External links