27.2.07

STILL IN STEAM. Meet St. Marys Challenger.
Challenger is one of only two remaining ships still active on the Great Lakes powered by a Skinner Marine Unaflow steam engine. The other vessel is the car ferry Badger, which is powered by two of these engines.
And consider both the staying power of classical allusions and the social forces that required the reporter to explain them to today's readers.

Challenger was christened as the William P. Snyder when originally launched in Detroit. Over the years, the ship also was known as the Alex D. Chisholm, Medusa Challenger and Southdown Challenger.

Medusa, a Greek mythological figure, was a Gorgon, with snakes for hair and the power to turn men into stone. Medusa Challenger, owned then by Medusa Portland Cement Co., featured the head of a Gorgon as its emblem.

In the 1970s, parents in Manitowoc were known to threaten rambunctious children with a trip to the boat docks when Medusa came to town, according to an Aug. 19, 1979, article in The Milwaukee Journal.

May Challenger and all who sail on her continue to enjoy calm seas and prosperous voyages.

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