Douglas County Past: 'Ghost ship' eludes authorities; grave stones vandalized in the Hebrew cemetery
Headlines from Douglas County's past.
June 17, 1947
Billings Park library station is moved
The Billings Park library station has been moved according to Miss Lucille May, head of the Superior Public Library Tuesday. Formerly located at the Larson Grocery store, the books are now stacked at 1903 Iowa Ave. The library will be open on Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. and from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Grain ship aground, resists tugs’ efforts
The combined efforts of two tugs and a sistership were being utilized Tuesday in an attempt to free the steamer Sonora, which remained hard aground off Cargill Elevator K in East End.
Standing by to assist the 346-foot Sonora is her sistership, the Sonoma, which was attempting to aid two tugs of the Union Towing and Wrecking company in freeing the freighter.
The Sonora rammed aground in approximately seven feet of water Monday afternoon, and efforts to free it Monday evening were futile. Four cables were snapped during the initial attempts by tugs to haul the ship back into deeper water.
Grave stones knocked over, some broken
Vandals who tipped over tombstones and monuments in the Hebrew cemetery were being sought Tuesday by members of the Douglas County Sheriff's Department.
Caretaker John Showers reported the depredation Tuesday morning when he found 53 monuments and grave markers overturned. Deputy Sheriff Bannick reported that some of the markers had been cracked and broken.
June 18, 1947
Bobby Specht home for vacation; career in movies beckons figure skating star
Bobby Specht, son of Dr. and Mrs. O.G. Specht, 1615 Ogden Ave., was “just taking it easy around home” Wednesday, spending his vacation with his parents prior to resuming his role as leading star in the “Ice-Capades.”
Bobby’s parents revealed Wednesday that the coming “Ice-Capades” season will be his last with the skating show which he has headed since winning the U.S. men’s figure skating crown, and that a career in the movies is beckoning strongly.
It is intimated strongly that Specht is “all set” for a movie career, although Mrs. Specht said that “we can’t say anything about it yet.”
At 24 years of age Specht has achieved the heights in the figure skating world. As an amateur he grabbed every possible title, then has gone to even more widespread fame as star of the ice extravaganza.
Pvt. Bruce T. Ciskie, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Ciskie, 1924 ½ Belknap, has completed basic training at Fort Lewis, Wash. and is awaiting his next assignment. He entered service April 3, and qualified as a sharpshooter during his basic training.
“Ghost Ship” lives up to name, slips out of harbor
The “ghost ship” Jupiter lived up to its name Wednesday, slipping into – and out of – the Superior harbor, despite efforts of the National Maritime Union to tie up the freighter with a U. S. Court order.
The Jupiter took on a load of iron ore at the Great Northern docks and got underway at 1:20 p.m. destined for an unnamed port on the lower lakes.
U.S. Court Commissioner C. W. Bishop Wednesday morning dismissed a petition of the NMU, which asked that a summons be served on the claim that 17 seamen, former crew members of the Jupiter, had not been paid for their services or had not been able to get their personal effects off the ship
The Jupiter’s troubles were brought into the open May 22 at Detroit where the 17 crew members struck. According to the owners of the ship, the crew was given a chance to return to the ship and was notified of the sailing time.
When the men did not report, the ship sailed and the paychecks, together with the personal belongings or “gear” of the NMU men were expressed to them.
Graduate gets diploma while hospitalized
On May 10, James Lally was injured in an automobile accident, and is still recuperating. At the time he was hurt, he was nearing completion of his studies in the eighth grade at St. Francis Xavier school, and was slated for graduation last week.
As close to finishing as he was, school authorities determined that James would not be deprived of his diploma this year – and even though he was hospitalized, they decided to pay special tribute and honor to this plucky lad.
Stevens School at Dairyland marks 30th anniversary
DAIRYLAND – During the 30 years that the Stevens school has been in existence about 160 boys and girls have been recorded on the roster. Eighty pupils have been graduated from the eighth grade and 26 teachers have been hired to teach there.
Among events at the picnic were recognizing certain students of teachers. For instance, the family who had the largest number of children attending the school were the Hjalmer Ericksons, who still reside in the community. They had 10 children who all graduated from Stevens. Six of them were present for the reunion.
The student who traveled the furthest distance to get to the reunion turned out to be Harry Anderson of Detroit, Mich.
June 18, 1945
Catherine Butler to christen ship
Miss Catherine Butler, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Butler, president of Walter Butler Shipbuilders, Inc., will christen the Dragon Fly, ocean going cargo vessel, in the Butler shipyard Wednesday.
Miss Butler served as an ambassador of good will in 1943 when she made a trip to Canada to invite the Dionne quintuplets to come to Superior to christen the quint fleet on May 9 of that year.
The Dragon Fly will be the third ship that the Butler firm has launched in less than three weeks and will join her sister ships to carry much needed supplies to the armed forces in the South Pacific.
June 19, 1945
Butler women interviewed on postwar plans
In an effort to determine the postwar plans of women now working in defense industry, a group of women at the Superior Butler yard were asked the following question: “Do you intend to keep on working after the war is won?”
Mrs. Andrew Mattila, Superior, member of Shipbuilders 117: “My husband has been in the army for three and one-half years. I taught school, worked as a weighmaster at one of the local coal docks and am now a shipfitter helper. Definitely, I will set up housekeeping when my husband returns.”
Mrs. Ray Monto, Superior: welderette and member of Shipbuilders 117: “I intend to go back to housekeeping, but don’t think housekeeping is easier then welding.”
Miss Emily Hendricks, Superior, sweeper and member of Local 117: “I support my mother. I intend to keep on working. I worked after school last year at the Androy hotel.”
Miss May Saburn, Duluth, welderette and member of Local 117: “Yes, I’m going to keep on working. I plan to go to Arizona. I like welding and wouldn’t change now. I formerly worked in a cafe. It seems good to have a change.”
Sgt. Stralka returns home after liberation
A Superior sergeant, Paul A. Stralka Jr., who was kept in solitary confinement for 32 days in a French prison in Paris after being shot down over France July 4, 1944, is home for a 60-day furlough with his mother, Mrs. Paul Stralka, 1420 Fisher Avenue.
PFC Hagen awarded bronze star on Luzon
Pfc. Sigurd Hagen, son of Mrs. Sina Engstrom, 908 Winter Street, has been awarded the bronze star by Maj. Gen. P.W. Clarkson, commanding general of the fighting 33rd division, for heroism in action against the enemy in northern Luzon. His citation said “The calmness and courage displayed by Private First Class Hagen was an inspiration to all members of the patrol.”
Hagen was with a combat patrol from Company “F” of the 130th infantry, senior unit with the 33rd division, reconnoitering an enemy position. While advancing up a slope of a hill, the group was fired on by enemy machine guns, rifles and mortars. The opening bursts of fire killed one man and wounded another one seriously.
The injured man lay in an exposed position and Private First Class Hagen, with the aid of another man, crawled to the injured man over open terrain and under the direct fire of the enemy, and carried him back to a place of safety.
Articles and pictures courtesy of retired librarian Judy Aunet with the Superior Public Library.