Buckeye Steamship Company

John T. Hutchinson began his business in 1861 at 24 years old after purchasing the scow Monitor, built for the transport of lumber. In the fall of that year, Hutchinson sold the Monitor and partnered with La Friener Bros. to construct the steamer Lac La Belle. After a small taste of what the shipping industry provided, John spent the next decade purchasing, selling, and building vessels designed to haul various cargo across the Lakes. In 1901, John Hutchinson and partner Walton McGean founded the Hutchinson & Co. Managers in Cleveland, Ohio, to oversee and operate the fleets of Pioneer Steamship Company, Inland Steel, International Harvester Company, and other Great Lakes companies. The two decided to use a rectangular flag with a bolded white “H” inside a circle of twelve stars.

In 1923, John Hutchinson’s grandson, who shared the identical name as his grandfather, organized the Buckeye Steamship Company, which was to be managed by Hutchinson & Co. This four-foot blue rectangular flag consisting of twelve white stars encircling an “H,” once flew for the Buckeye Steamship Co. The Buckeye Steamship Co. and Hutchinson & Co. remained within the family for several generations, with Gene C. Hutchinson being the last. The Hutchinson & Co. and Pioneer Steamship Co. ceased operations in 1962, with Buckeye Steamship following suit in 1969. 

This exhibit is made possible by visitors like you.  Please consider making a donation to the National Museum of the Great Lakes to help us continue our important work of preserving and making know the history of the Great Lakes.