Alpena was built in 1942, is 520 feet long and flies the U.S. flag

American Century
Previous names:
Leon Fraser: 1942-1991
Alpena: 1991-

Click here for other pages featuring the Alpena

Click below to hear her whistle:
The Alpena was originally built as the Leon Fraser in 1942 for the US Steel fleet. She spent most of her life carrying iron ore for them, but in 1991, she was sold to Inland Lakes Management. They sent her to the Fraser Shipyard in Superior where 120 feet were taken from her overall length and she became a cement boat. She is one of the oldest boats working on the Great Lakes. She also has one of the loudest whistles on the Great Lakes. She brings cement to the Twin Ports about once a month…in the 2012-2013 season, that was 11 times. Picture below taken July 28, 2016.
Picture above taken Monday, December 10, 2007, below on March 30, 2009
Picture above taken Monday, August 20, 2007


Picture above taken Monday, August 21, 2006: The Alpena made 17 trips to the Duluth Superior port in 2007. In all cases, she brought cement in to discharge and then left light. Picture below taken in September, 2004
Picture above & below taken Saturday, September 7, 2002: entering the Duluth harbor
Picture above taken Tuesday, May 21, 2002
Picture above taken Thursday, August 16, 2001
Above, in the Duluth Ship Canal in July, 1998
Picture above and below taken Monday, August 18, 1997: arriving under the Lift Bridge and then later the same day, looking down the deck of the Alpena while she discharges cement in Duluth


  1. Rob Koedam Kortgene The Netherlands says:

    She is the most beautiful

  2. I see she has bounced back from her fire in layup and is back in service. Glad to see the old girl still alive and kicking! Hope she keeps earning money for her owners for years to come.

  3. David Malnati says:

    To answer the questions about her status, it is from late December, but this story states that she is being repaired and will sail this year sometime.

  4. What’s her post-fire status?

  5. DNT reports a fire caused “extensive damange” in the superstructure of the ship last night.

  6. Tracy Schlipf says:

    Back to Cleveland and on the ship right now finishing repairs on this ship. Good to be back. 🙂

  7. Tracy Schlipf says:

    Getting the privilege to perform maintenance on this grand old ship! 2/5/15-2/6/15, 2/9/15 and will be heading back to Cleveland’s LaFarge dock again sometime within the next two weeks for one more day of maintenance work.

    Sending thanks to the crew for allowing me the opportunity and hope to see her again in the future to be part of her history. She is still looking grand after 73 years!. Some pics can be seen here…

  8. James LaVanway says:

    This is my favorite ship. I have worked here @ the St. Joseph ,Michigan terminal since 1977 have seen all our ships, and tug/barges. The first time I was invited to eat with skipper Steve was fantastic. She unloads cement faster and cleaner than any ship we have had in here. Even at 01:00 in the morning @ 10 degrees out its still great to see her come to our dock. The boys refinished the pilot house it looks fantastic. Special times when you get to eat on board with the boys. Wish we had 3 more S.S. Alpena’s.

  9. Larry Moses says:

    Just saw the Alpena on the Fox River in Green Bay.

  10. Austin loves ships says:

    It hauls cement

  11. Mike Billock says:

    The Alpena laid-up for the winter in Cleveland She went in on Jan 9th. Looking forward to another shipping season of her out there.

  12. David Marlette says:

    GREAT Pics, thanks guys. Nothing better than seeing this ole gal again from Kentucky this time..

  13. Best ship ever!:-)Who has not seen it?Interesting fact she usaly hauls cement.

  14. lucky you, mike…she is a beauty!

  15. Mike Billock says:

    Got lucky in Toledo last week. The Alpena stopped at the LaFarge dock for a day or so in from Cleveland and it was great to see it up close again. Always looks in such great shape, so very well maintained.

  16. Great to see, and hear, this grand ole lady of the lakes come in this morning… thanks for having the audio on!
    Grammie Pat
    West St. Paul, MN

  17. Mike Billock says:

    Joanne, if you saw her just this afternoon she should be headed for Cleveland, Ohio. Checking the boatnerd website this morning it stated she was on her way there from Alpena, probably loaded with cement.

  18. Stunning ship, she just past my deck in Port Huron going south and made my day!

  19. very cool!

  20. Alpena Resident says:

    Just saw the Alpena leaving Alpena!

  21. Tristin (loves ships) says:

    Yes Mike, she is beautiful.

  22. Sure glad I clicked onto this website. Enjoyed the whistle and these photos, great shots. I sending from Monroe, Mich and I miss this vessel coming into the Port of Toledo, where I used to see it. It is just one of the best looking lakers out there. For being 70 years old next year it’s a survivor, hope it’s around for a long time to come. It has great lines.

  23. greg, is that south street in duluth? it sure was nice to see her come in under the bridge! and the whistle!

  24. she pass’s by our window looking out from our house on south street a perfect ship in porportion. The sight lifts our hearts. Greg

  25. when was the last time the Alpena came under the bridge? will it ever come again?

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