SS Howard L. Shaw

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The steamer Howard L. Shaw.jpg
Howard L. Shaw in Poe Lock
 United States
  • Howard L. Shaw
  • John Shaw Transit Company (1900-1901)
  • Eddy Shaw Transit Company (a subsidiary of John Shaw Transit Company) (1901-1902)
  • Donora Mining Company (a subsidiary of U.S. Steel) (1902-1904)
  • Pittsburgh Steamship Company (1904-1940)
  • Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Company (1940-1969)
Port of registry:  United States,
Builder: Detroit Shipbuilding Company, Wyandotte, Michigan
Yard number: 136
Launched: September 15, 1900
Completed: 1900
In service: 1900
Out of service: 1969
Identification: U.S. Registry #96524
Fate: Sunk as a breakwater at Ontario Place
Status: Breakwater
General characteristics
Class and type: Bulk Freighter
Tonnage: 4,901 gross 3,802 net
Length: 451 ft (137 m)
Beam: 50 ft (15 m)
Height: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Installed power: 2 x Scotch marine boilers
Propulsion: 1,150 horsepower triple expansion steam engine attached to a single fixed pitch propeller
Speed: 10 knots
Notes: The Shaw was the last vessel to see the ill-fated John Owen

Howard L. Shaw was a 451-foot (137 m) long propeller driven freighter that operated on the Great Lakes of North America from her launching in 1900 to her retirement 1969. She is currently serving as a breakwater in Ontario Place on Lake Ontario.


Howard L. Shaw was built by the Detroit Shipbuilding Company of Wyandotte, Michigan. She was launched on 15 September 1900 as hull #136. she began service on 2 October 1900. On 1 November 1900, Howard L. Shaw loaded 260,000 bushels of flax in Duluth, Minnesota which was a new port record. The cost of the cargo was valued at $468,000.

In 1902 Howard L. Shaw was purchased by U.S. Steel. In 1904 Howard L. Shaw was transferred to the Pittsburgh Steamship Company. On 25 May 1906 Howard L. Shaw passed between the cable connecting the steamer Coralia and her barge Maia which raked the deck of spars and the smokestack.

Howard L. Shaw after her accident in 1906

Howard L. Shaw ran aground after the collision. Howard L. Shaw was the last vessel to see the wooden steamer John Owen on 12 November 1919 before she was lost in a storm on Lake Superior. In 1922 Howard L. Shaw's hull was reconstructed with arch frames by the Toledo Shipbuilding Company of Toledo, Ohio, while in Toledo she also had her old boilers replaced by brand new Scotch marine boilers. On 26 April 1926, Howard L. Shaw ran aground in Mud Lake[disambiguation needed] while downbound from the St. Marys River.[1]

Canadian registry[edit]

Howard L. Shaw was sold to the Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Company (renamed Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. in 1959) in late 1940 (her Canadian identification was C172356). On 13 December 1958 Howard L. Shaw while downbound was stuck in ice delaying eleven other freighters. On 6 September 1963 Howard L. Shaw was dynamited in Chicago, Illinois because of a labor dispute between American and Canadian labor unions. The explosion blew a 2-foot (0.61 m) hole in the port side of the vessel. The ship was later towed to Chicago, Illinois for repairs. Howard L. Shaw was tied up at a pier since 22 April.[2]


Howard L. Shaw (middle) between Houghton (right) and Victorius (left)

Howard L. Shaw was sold to the Toronto Harbor Commissioners. On 4 July 1969 she was sunk as a breakwater at Ontario Place along with her fleet mates the steamers Douglas Houghton and Victorius. All three vessels remain in Ontario Place to this day.[when?]


  1. ^ "Shaw, Howard L." Great Lakes Vessel History. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Historical Perspectives-Howard L. Shaw". BoatNerd. Retrieved 12 January 2018.