Thursday, February 01, 2007

Part IV: Charlie's 2nd and 3rd Boat

Pictured here are Kauppi's next two ferryboats, the Copper Queen and the Isle Royale Queen I.

After several years operating the Water Lily to Isle Royale, Kauppi determined that he needed to expand. Accordingly, in about 1936, he contracted with a local boat builder to fabricate the wooden hulled, 48-foot Copper Queen, a handsome yacht-like craft with a straight stem and a slightly rounded transom. Her fairing was exceptionally graceful from stem to stern. There is a nice picture of her in my first post. In the meantime, he sold the Water Lily to Ed Olson of Eagle Harbor (see my last post).

Unfortunately, the U.S.Coast Guard was beginning to enforce construction standards for ferryboats of the Great Lakes and Kauppi's beautiful new boat, because it lacked watertight bulkheads below the weatherdeck, was not certified to carry passengers for hire. Not to be stopped, Kauppi just continued carrying passengers as though they were on a private charter, with the "charter" consisting of the passengers who arrived each morning prior to sailing. The Copper Queen took 6-1/2 hours to sail the 56 statute miles to the island where he would stay overnight and return the next morning. In addition to Rock Harbor (see the NPS web site,, he would make stops at Belle Isle, where there was a lodge, and other coves and ports on the island. In addition, he would on occasion make a trip to Canada to what is now called Thunder Bay. The price for a round trip at that time was $5.00.

The increasing demand to go to the island convinced Charlie to add to his fleet. Within two years, he acquired the 52-foot, wooden hulled combination fishing and passenger boat and christened her the Isle Royale Queen I. This boat was certified by the USCG and Charlie could now legally operate a set schedule to the island and back. He ran both boats as well as his commercial fishing business until his death in 1955 at which time the Copper Queen was sold to the Grand Portage-Isle Royale Transportation Service and was re-christened the Voyageur where she served the island from Grand Portage, Minnesota. The Isle Royale Queen I was sold to Capt. Ward Grosnick of Copper Harbor who continued to run scheduled passenger service to the island.

1 comment:

Ben Kilpela said...

Nice shots and nice posts, Cap. I've been enjoying the blog so far. Was the IRQI really 5 feet longer than the IRQII? I don't remember the QI being that big. I only saw her a coluple times, the IRQI I mean. She was moored in the Portage Canal up north of Houghton for quite a while, and we passed her a few times on the way to the North Entry. Keep going with the blog.