St. Marys Challenger: Centennial The Sequel by Chris Winters
Christopher Winters, spent five years creating a vivid record of life aboard the venerable Great Lakes steamboat St. Marys Challenger as she approached the centennial anniversary of her maiden voyage in 2006. Thought to be the oldest self-propelled bulk freighter in the world, the Challenger began her remarkable freshwater career on the Great Lakes as the William P. Snyder on April 28, 1906 — six years before the launch of the R.M.S. Titanic. Granted unprecedented access to the vessel by her owners, Winters set off on a personal quest to record an old way of life in a brand-new way, focusing revolutionary digital cameras on this revolutionary machine from another century. “Centennial: Steaming through the American Century” was published in 2008 to wide acclaim and received the Steamship Historical Society of America’s 75th anniversary C. Bradford Mitchell Award. As fortune would have it, the story doesn’t end there. Winters continued to follow the former William P. Snyder’s remarkable career, recording her last voyage under steam in November 2013, her conversion to a self-unloading cement barge at Fincanteri’s Bay Shipbuilding yard, and under the aegis of the National Museum of the Great Lakes, the transportation of the Challenger’s historic pilothouse structure from the shipyard at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin to Toledo, Ohio aboard the current “Queen of the Lakes” M/V Paul R. Tregurtha in April, 2015.
Following Winters’ presentation, NMGL’s Executive Director, Christopher Gillcirst, will outline the ongoing plans for the placement and display of the St. Marys Challenger Pilot House as part of the permanent collection of the National Museum of the Great Lakes.
Prior to the program will be the 2021 Great Lakes Historical Society’s Annual meeting. This will be a quick 5 minute meeting to take care of some yearly business.
Christopher Winters is a freelance photojournalist and staff photographer at Discovery World Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Smitten at the age of nine with the lore of lakeboats and the legend of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Winters is a lifelong student of Great Lakes maritime history and culture.
This will be a virtual lecture and is free. Donations are always happily accepted. When you register with Eventbrite, there is an option to purchase Centennial: Steaming through the American Century” which will be shipped after the lecture is over.
Sign up online or call 419.214.5000 ext. 200.