Frank E. Kirby
Frank E. Kirby (July 1, 1849-August 25, 1929) was a naval architect in the Detroit, Michigan (USA) area in the early 20th century. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest naval architects in Great Lakes history.
Kirby mostly specialized in paddle-wheel and steamship design. Perhaps his most famous vessel, SS Tashmoo, was a paddle-wheeler launched on New Year's Eve, 1899. She was constructed by the Detroit Shipbuilding Company in Wyandotte, Mich., for the White Star Steamship Co. of Detroit. The 306-foot vessel made her maiden voyage on June 9, 1900. She would become one of the best known - and most beloved - excursion steamers on the Great Lakes.
Kirby also is well-renowned for his design of the "Boblo boats" - the SS Columbia and the SS Ste. Claire. Boblo Island was a major amusement park destination for residents of southeast Michigan (and southern Ontario, Canada) throughout most of the twentieth century. In some circles, he is also considered the father of modern ice-breaking technology. He designed the D&C Navigation Co.’s armada of stately night boats, including the City of Detroit III.
- SS Canadiana
- SS Chief Wawatam
- SS City of Detroit III
- SS City of Erie
- SS Columbia
- SS Greater Detroit
- SS Greater Buffalo - rebuilt in 1942 as a training aircraft carrier, USS Sable (IX-81), which trained a future US President, George H. W. Bush
- SS Ste. Claire
- SS Tashmoo
- SS Seeandbee - The largest and most expensive lake cruiser at the time, later transformed into the USS Wolverine (IX-64), a training aircraft carrier that served in tandem with the USS Sable.
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