ST. MARYS CHALLENGER featured in Last Spring Virtual Lecture and Coming Soon to Museum’s Grounds as Newest Artifact

April 22, 2021 (Toledo, Ohio)On May 12 at 7 p.m., Great Lakes vessel historian and photographer Chris Winters will present St. Marys Challenger: Centennial the Sequel as the final virtual lecture of the National Museum of the Great Lakes’ spring series. Thought to be the oldest self-propelled bulk freighter in the world, the Challenger began her remarkable freshwater career on the Great Lakes in 1906 as the William P. Snyder—a sister ship of NMGL’s Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship. 

“I spent five years creating a record of life aboard the St. Marys Challenger,” recalls Chris Winters of the creation of his 2008 book Centennial: Steaming through the American Century. “But the vessel’s life and my connection with it didn’t stop with the book’s publication.” 

Winters continues to follow the former William P. Snyder’s remarkable career, recording her last voyage under steam in 2013, her subsequent conversion to a self-unloading cement barge, and transportation of the vessel’s historic pilothouse structure to Toledo. In his presentation for the National Museum of the Great Lakes, he will share his experiences—old and new—along with highlighting past and present-day images capturing the vessel’s extraordinary life. 

“Soon, the historic vessel’s pilothouse will join the museum grounds as our newest artifact,” says NMGL executive director Chris Gillcrist. “This exciting exhibit addition is ultimately meant to provide visitors with year-round, increased access to a pilothouse experience.” 

Following Winters’ presentation, NMGL’s Executive Director, Christopher Gillcrist, 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.

The virtual event is FREE but registration is required. Donations are encouraged and can be given upon registration. In addition, the book Centennial: Steaming through the American Century can be purchased when registering. For more information, to register and/or purchase a book click here.