Welcome aboard the Maritime Deck! Through this portal you may link to the Vessel Database, the SS City of Alpena logbook transcription project and the Thunder Bay Island and Middle Island Life-Saving Station / Lighthouse Logbooks transcription projects, as well as search the indexes of other library maritime holdings.
The Great Lakes Maritime Database is an extensive source of information on approximately 14,000 19th Century ships that sailed the Great Lakes. Each vessel record may include build & owner info, a brief historical timeline, and photographs.
The database was compiled from the collection of C. Patrick Labadie. As a child, Mr. Labadie was fascinated by his grandfather’s sailor stories. The love of those stories inspired Pat to begin his maritime research collection in the 1960s. Over the next 40 years, he worked in numerous maritime museums, during which time he continued to add to his collection and research. By the time he retired, Pat had amassed one of the largest private collections of 19th Century Great Lakes maritime history in existence.
In 2003, Pat and his wife, June, donated the collection to the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and it is currently managed and housed in the Special Collections area of the Alpena County Library. In 2006, the library received, through the Library of Michigan, a special digitization grant of $234,000 to create this database.