Joseph H. Frantz

 John Sherwin

Joseph H. Frantz was built in 1925, is 628 feet long and flies a U.S. flag

Joseph H. Thompson
The Joseph H. Frantz was towed to Port Colborne, ON, Canada in 2005 to be scrapped.
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Built for the Columbia Steamship Company in 1924, the Joseph H. Frantz became a part of Oglebay Norton in 1944. In 1955, a new steam turbine engine was installed. A new diesel powered engine and a self unloader josephhfrantz230520-2--058were added in the mid-60’s. In 2002, she went into a layup of uncertain duration. Toward the end of that season, with changes in the technology used to discharge wheat in Buffalo, the management of the Kinsman Independent decided to lay her up. They chartered the Frantz from Oglebay Norton to replace her. In May, 2003, the Frantz arrived in Duluth to pick up her first cargo of wheat to take to General Mills in Buffalo. She made 14 trips to Duluth Superior that year and returned the next year 16 times. As in her first year back, she laid up in Buffalo that winter and that was to be the end of a very long life on the Great Lakes. In April, 2005, she was towed to the scrap yard in Port Colborne, Ontario.
Picture above taken Tuesday, May 20, 2003: Looking down the deck alongside the self unloader while she loaded wheat at General Mills in Superior. Duluth can be seen in the background
Picture above taken Tuesday, May 20, 2003: The pilot house
Picture above taken Tuesday, May 20, 2003: loading wheat at General Mills in Superior.
Picture above taken Monday, May 19, 2003: entering the Duluth harbor for the first time in many years, perhaps ever.


  1. Leonard Chapman says:

    Who was she named for, my 3rd great-grandfather, was Joseph H. Frantz of Lancaster county, Pa.

  2. Elizabeth Kelderhouse says:

    My husbands father sailed on this ship as a seaman in 1945, this was his first job sailing on the Great Lakes. The Captain at that time was Frank Blacklock was lived in the same community as my father-in-law, an area called Port Oneida MI. I am searching for a photo of this Captain to confirm the identity of other photos of a captain that were left unlabeled. Any records available to help with this?

    • charles prause says:

      small world , Captain Blacklock for which I get my middle name, Charles franklin Prause. Master Frank spent considerable time in the off season at my grandma &grandpas farm next to the one room schoolhouse Ruby&John Schmidt. I have a mail bag from the Joseph H Frantz plus his sea chest and photos. the museum in Manistee,mi has a number of items and history about him.I would love to talk to,you I live outside Flint,mi 810-287-0206 My grandpa J.Schmidt’s cousin is Adm.willard J.Smith was head of C.G.

  3. Tristin (loves ships) says:

    This ship should still be running it is one of the coolest ships ever. 🙁

    • Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but she was decommissioned and towed to Port Colborne where she was sold for scrap steel and sent to China. I possess one of her galley port windows that I purchased from the steel yard.

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