Twin Ports Shipping

Because of the way that Lake Superior’s shoreline met the Twin Ports of Duluth Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin, shipping began back in the 1870s. With the massive lake available to transport grains and minerals, ship building became a draw for those looking for employment.

The Globe Shipyards and the McDougall Shipyards were open during the Great War, and more than 40 ships were built for war use. Many others were commissioned for use by the Navy and were remodeled to fit new equipment. The community of Riverside in Duluth was created because of the need for a large number of ships for the war.

Below are some photos of the ships and the shipyards, and those who made the whole process possible. Click to enlarge images.

This short article explains a little bit about the shipping season in the North. (Superior Telegram. April 10, 1917. Superior Public Library.)

This short article explains a little bit about the shipping season in the North. It also details one ship that was being commissioned for war use.1

 

aerial bridge 1913 WHS

This image taken in Duluth, Minnesota shows the bridge that all ships had to pass through to enter the harbor. On the far right is a suspended ferry that would haul vehicles and people between the mainland and the long strip of land the kept the harbor safe from storms.2

 

1915 photo of twin ports WHS

This bird’s-eye view of the Twin Ports shows one of the most important parts of what Duluth and Superior offered to the war effort. With the harbor and ship-building docks, numerous ships could be quickly built and sent for use by the US Military.3

 

Duluth's McDougall Shipbuilding Yard during the Great War (Lake Superior Maritime Collections, UW-Superior.)

Duluth’s McDougall Shipbuilding Yard during the Great War.4

 

Men at the shipbuilding yards in 1918 (Lake Superior Maritime Collections, UW-Superior.)

Men at the shipbuilding yards in 1918.5

The local Riverside Marine Band (Lake Superior Maritime Collections, UW-Superior.)

The local Riverside Marine Band.6

Liberty For Ever, the launching of Lake Helen (Lake Superior Maritime Collections, UW-Superior.)

Liberty For Ever, the launching of Lake Helen.7

Men Leave McDougall Shipyards After Work, 1919 (Lake Superior Maritime Collections, UW-Superior.)

Men Leave McDougall Shipyards After Work in 1919.8

The Cedar Spring (Lake Superior Maritime Collections, UW-Superior.)

The Cedar Spring.9

Fifteen ships being built at the shipyards (Lake Superior Maritime Collections, UW-Superior.)

Fifteen ships being built at the shipyards. 10

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1 “Lake Superior Free From Ice,” Superior Telegram, April 10, 1917, Superior Public Library; Superior, Wisconsin. Microfilm.
2 “Aerial Bridge Duluth Superior,” image 30535, 1913, Wisconsin Historical Society; Madison, Wisconsin.
3 “The Twin Ports, Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota,” image 12173, circa 1915. Wisconsin Historical Society; Madison, Wisconsin.
4 “McDougall-Duluth shipbuilding for World War I,” image, c 1919. Lake Superior Maritime Collections, UW-Superior; Superior, Wisconsin.
5 “Shipbuilding for World War I,” image circa 1918. Lake Superior Maritime Collections, UW-Superior; Superior, Wisconsin.
6 “Riverside Marine Band,” image, circa 1919. Lake Superior Maritime Collections, UW-Superior; Superior, Wisconsin.
7 “Liberty For Ever” image, circa 1917. Lake Superior Maritime Collections, UW-Superior; Superior, Wisconsin.
8 “Workers leaving McDougall Duluth,” image, 1919. Lake Superior Maritime Collections, UW-Superior, Superior; Wisconsin.
9 “The Cedar Spring,” image, 1919. Lake Superior Maritime Collections, UW-Superior; Superior, Wisconsin.
10 “Fifteen Ships Under Construction,” image, 1919. Lake Superior Maritime Collections, UW-Superior; Superior, Wisconsin.