P.O. Box 1990;   Dearborn, MI 48121

The Great Lakes Maritime Institute is a 501(c)3 organization that promotes the history and maritime heritage
of the Great Lakes through model shipbuilding, preservation projects and educational programs.

Posted on February 19, 2014:



The Great Lakes Maritime Institute is raffling off a forty-pound solid brass porthole from one of the premier cruise ships on the Great Lakes.  The S. S. SOUTH AMERICAN was constructed in 1914 at the Great Lakes Engineering Works in Ecorse/River Rouge, Michigan and sailed to numerous ports on the Inland Seas until 1967.  The porthole is unique as it pivots in the center and was recovered during the scrapping of the vessel in 1992.   A profile of this passenger vessel has been etched in the glass by the maritime artist Jerry Krist, denoting that it was part of the famous Georgian Bay Lines Fleet. 

The drawing will be held on October 12, 2014 at St. Clair Shores, Michigan.

Tickets are $10.00 Each; or 3 for $25.00. 

To order tickets, call 313-441-1155 or use our mail-in form.              

(Visa, Master Card, or Discover accepted).

Posted on January 29, 2014:

Obituary of William Allen “Bill” Moss, 1943 -2014 – The ‘Artist of Detroit’

Bill Moss

Bill Moss was born on Detroit, Michigan’s east side November 20, 1943 the youngest child of the late Joseph Allen Moss and Helen Dyer Moss. His daily commute to Detroit’s Cass Technical High School heightened his interest in the history and architecture of his home town. He graduated from Cass Technical in 1962 and continued his education at Wayne State University, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in 1966. Bill’s family moved to the farm near Silver Point, Tennessee while he worked as an architectural renderer in Detroit. He also bought and sold architectural antiques obtained from the various mansions that were being demolished along Grosse Pointe’s Lake Shore Drive. He later relocated to Nashville, Tennessee and passed away at age 70 on Saturday, January 11, 2014 at his home in Silver Point, Tennessee. He is survived by his sister Jo Ann Moss of Silver Point; his sister-in-law, Mary Moss of Louisiana; and 10 nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by a brother, Ledric “Lee” Moss of Norco, LA.
Bill developed an interest in drawing Great Lakes vessels, for he sketched the cross river railroad car ferries, the freighters, the Bob-Lo Boats, the Georgian Bay passenger liners, and his first love the magnificent Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Company over night boats. When the Dossin Great Lakes Museum opened in 1960, he used the original blueprints to construct a four foot model of the steamboat City of Detroit III for the museum’s collection. This highly detailed model, with interior lighting, still graces the entry of the Dossin Museum on Belle Isle. Bill produced a number of detailed acrylic paintings of Great Lakes vessels and hosted a one man show at the Dossin Museum in 1981.

As the lake vessels he loved were taken out of service Bill’s interest turned to capturing Detroit’s past in a number of original paintings, and earned the title “Artist of Detroit”. These memories were released as a series signed and numbered limited edition prints. One could see his passion for Detroit’s history as he  captured the skyline of Detroit the with the Bob-lo Steamer Columbia in the foreground, while his ‘Detroit’s Traditions’ depicted the foot of Woodward Avenue. He produced portraits of the Old City Hall, the Hudson’s Building with Santa arriving, Music Hall, and a number of stadium views.

Briggs Stadium was the stadium portrait that evoked memories of the excitement that happened at the corner of Michigan & Trumbull.  His 1992 view of Tiger Stadium was released at Tiger Stadium and autographed by Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey. This was followed by a 1984 World Series view of Tiger Stadium that was autographed by Alan Trammell and Kirk Gibson.
He captured the glory of the ‘old red barn’ Olympia Stadium and each limited edition print was personally autographed by ‘Mr. Hockey’ Gordie Howe.  His view of Joe Louis Arena even shows a freighter passing by on the Detroit River. A limited number of the prints were autographed by the Red Wing’s team captain Steve Yzerman. Bill added a special remarque, a pencil sketch, showing the Captain holding the Stanley Cup over his head, the only time Yzerman won the trophy in Joe Louis Arena. 

In 1992 his view of the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald was used by the Great Lakes Maritime Institute and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum in a project called ‘A Link in the Chain’. The anchor from the Edmund Fitzgerald was recovered from the bottom of the Detroit River in a live underwater special on WDIV Channel 4. The resulting sale of specially marked prints funded the raising of the 10,000 pound anchor and it’s installation as the main feature in the Dossin Museum’s side court yard on Belle Isle. 

In 1995 he was commissioned to produce a painting of the Kern’s clock as it was suspended above Woodward Avenue of the WTVS Channel 56 production of ‘DETROIT Remember When’. The artwork was used on the cover of the VHS tape that was produced, and the later versions that graced the jacket of the DVD production. Bill and his artworks were also featured in the program’s production, and the production is still being aired on Channel 56.
1999 was a busy year for Bill as Erik Smith of WXYZ Channel 7, interviewed Bill about his love of ‘Old Detroit’ in a production of “From the Heart”. The Detroit Historical Society and the R. L. Polk Company used Bill’s artwork in their annual calendar. This historical calendar featured the street views, riverfront, hockey and baseball stadiums, and churches of his home town.
Bill moved to Tennessee after the passing of his parents to live on the family farm where he worked as an architectural consultant creating detailed renderings of proposed churches and buildings across the country. He continued to produce a number of limited edition prints and could be found at local summer artist markets, and his work was on exhibit in multiple galleries. One feature that Bill tried to place in his artwork was a view of a vintage corvette, a reminder of his love of antique automobiles.

Even though his health was failing, he was always looking to promote the maritime heritage of Detroit. His last project was the use of his view of the ‘Steamer Greater Detroit passing under the Ambassador Bridge’ by the Great Lakes Maritime Institute. The Maritime Institute’s volunteer dive team discovered the anchor of the Steamer Greater Detroit in the Detroit River. The dive team worked to clear the 6,000 pound anchor, and negotiations were opened with the Wayne County/Detroit Port Authority to have the artifact rest near their building on the Detroit riverfront.

A fund raiser has been started by the Great Lakes Maritime Institute and hopefully the project to donate the anchor of the S.S. Greater Detroit to the Port Authority will be completed in the summer of 2014. The overnight vessel was put in commission running passengers and freight between Buffalo, New York and Detroit, Michigan in 1924. The vessel was burned as a spectacle on Lake Ste. Claire in 1956. Ninety years later the anchor of the S.S. Greater Detroit may rise from the bottom of the Detroit River to be a visible icon of Detroit’s maritime heritage on Detroit’s riverfront.
William Moss’s remaining limited edition artwork can be viewed at  or by contacting


Posted on September 17, 2013:

            ‘Storm of 1913’ Centennial Dinner to be hosted by GLMI

Regina underway by Robert McGreevy

The Great Lakes Maritime Institute Annual Dinner commemorates the tragic ‘Storm of 1913’, bringing together four elements to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this event. The storm enveloped the Great Lakes region from November 8 to 11, 1913 and was the most destructive in recorded commercial navigation history.

The GLMI Centennial Dinner is on Sunday October 27, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at the Blossom Health Inn, 24800 Jefferson Avenue in St. Clair Shores.  Blossom Heath is the perfect setting for the full course dinner since it was constructed in 1911 on the shores of Lake St. Clair.  The venue is appropriate since the windows afforded a view of the passing traffic in the freighter channel on Lake St. Clair a century ago.  The full course dinner will be served at the cost of $40.00 per person. Tickets can be obtained using the Pay-Pal button below, or at Gifts Afloat, 24601 Jefferson Avenue, St. Clair Shores, or by calling 586-777-8300.  In order to accommodate patrons, an October 20 dinner reservation deadline is necessary.

Maritime artist Robert McGreevy will recount the tragic voyage of the steamer Howard M. Hanna Jr. from Lorain, Ohio loaded with coal. The hatch covers were battened down, covered with tarpaulins and secured with hatch bars, and the vessel passed into Lake Huron on November 9.  As the wind and waves increased the vessel was thrown on the reef near the Port Austin light. Mr. McGreevy will also have a new piece of artwork that depicts the Steamer Howard M. Hanna Jr. on the Great Lakes.

Commercial diver Wayne Brusate has a most unusual presentation chronicling the last voyage of the Canadian steamer Regina which passed from Sarnia, Ontario out into Lake Huron. The vessel was carrying mixed merchandise and after battling the storm her crew abandoned ship near Port Sanilac.  It was Wayne Brusate who reported the discovery of the Regina on July 1, 1986, and worked with a Michigan Department of Natural resources permit to recover a number of artifacts from the wreck site.

A number of Regina artifacts were donated to the Great Lakes Maritime Institute, including full bottles of Whyte & McKay scotch and champagne. A special silent auction of Regina artifacts will be held providing the dinner guests an opportunity to own a part of Great Lakes maritime history from the ‘Storm of 1913’.   Prior to the dinner, there will be a small exhibit of the silent auction artifacts from the steamer Regina on display at Gifts Afloat, on the Nautical Mile between Nine and Ten Mile Roads in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.   Please note that in order to bid on the silent auction of Steamer Regina artifacts a dinner reservation is necessary.

For additional information contact John Polacsek at

Purchase your dinner tickets now ($40.00 Per Person) using the Pay-Pal link below:

Regina resting on the lake bottom - Robert McGreevy

August 25, 2013:

Recovered artifacts from the Str. REGINA are being prepared for auction at the annual GLMI dinner, scheduled for October 27, 2013 at Blossom Heath in St. Clair Shores.  On August 20, volunteers from GLMI and International Shipmasters Association met to clean and prepare various artifacts.  Click Here for details and pictures of the cleaning project.

May 21, 2013:

The Great Lakes Maritime Institute’s fundraising project will focus on the recovery and exhibition of the 6,000 pound bow anchor of the S.S. GREATER DETROIT at the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority building. The project calls for a tug boat, barge and crane to be stationed out in the Detroit River, and after the recovery of the anchor to be cleaned and preserved, then mounted on a new concrete base.

This project is similar to the one that was carried out by the GLMI in July 1992 when the anchor of the S.S. EDMUND FITZGERALD was recovered from the bottom of the Detroit River. That anchor is currently resting in the yard of the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle.

By using the Detroit River webcam that is mounted on the top of the William Clay Ford Pilothouse you will be able to see the anchor from the S.S. EDMUND FITZGERALD on Belle Isle.

The GLMI’s last anchor fundraiser also provided the funds to send a recovery team to Baltimore, Maryland where the S.S. SOUTH AMERICAN was being scrapped in 1992. The group recovered a number of artifacts from the vessel just before it was dismantled. Our group was fortunate to have the opportunity to recover a number of port holes and document the condition of the vessel before it was destroyed in a fire while it was being scrapped.

The GLMI also helped pay for the installation of the S.S. WILLIAM CLAY FORD pilothouse, a thirty by thirty foot steel and glass addition to the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. This artifact was taken off the vessel  intact before it was scrapped. When one visits the Dossin Great Lakes Museum you will be walking into an actual working pilothouse from a Great Lakes freighter that was built at the Great Lakes Engineering Works at River Rough/Ecorse, Michigan.

The Detroit River webcam was one of the projects that the GLMI was able to help fund. It allows an individual to actually control the camera that is mounted on the mast of the S.S. WILLIAM CLAY FORD pilothouse.

The current GLMI Anchor Fundraiser has two levels of donations:
Every donor of $1,000.00 or more will receive a special Detroit Riverfront Grouping of limited edition prints by the marine artist William Moss. The grouping includes the 26 x 40 inch signed and numbered print of ‘The City of the Straits’ showing the Detroit skyline in 1949.  The view shows the Bob-Lo Boat, the S.S. Columbia in the foreground, on the left background the S.S. CITY OF CLEVELAND III at the D & C Dock, and in the right background is the S.S. PUT-IN-Bay behind the Veterans Memorial Building.

Just a note when the S.S. CITY OF CLEVELAND III was taken out of service the bell of the vessel was purchased by a local man. Later his wife allowed the GLMI to auction off this significant artifact to benefit the GLMI’s maritime heritage projects. Click on the link on the right for the story of the bell auction.


The second limited edition print in the Detroit Riverfront Grouping is a 24 by 30 inch view of the Georgian Bay Lines Dock with the S.S. SOUTH AMERICAN secured to the dock, entitled ‘Detroit Riverfront Memories’. This area is just east of Woodward Avenue and shows the area where the new Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority building is currently sitting. The area beyond the Georgian Bay Line building was the dock for the Detroit Fireboat John Kendall and the beyond that area was the Robin Hood Flour silos where the RENCEN building was constructed in the 1970s.


The third print in the Detroit Riverfront Grouping is the 20 by 26 inch limited edition print of the ‘Steamer Greater Detroit - Beneath the Ambassador Bridge’. In 1950 the oil burning Steamer GREATER DETROIT was painted all white for the season and was placed on the Detroit, Michigan to Buffalo, New York route.

In addition to the three limited edition prints the donor will receive an original Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Company stock certificate showing a side profile of the S.S. GREATER DETROIT.


A donor of $250.00 will receive the limited edition print of the ‘Greater Detroit – Beneath of Ambassador Bridge’ and an original Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Company stock certificate showing a side profile of the S.S. GREATER DETROIT.
The donors of $1,000.00 or more will receive eight invitations to the anchor dedication reception, and the Detroit River cruise.

The donors of $250.00 will receive two invitations to the anchor dedication reception, and the Detroit River cruise.

To learn more about the history of the SS GREATER DETROIT, Click Here


2012 GLMI project:

War of 1812 Bicentennial Cruise on the Detroit River
July 8, 2012

Click Here for a summary of our War of 1812 Bicentennial Cruise on the Detroit River - held on July 8, 2012


In July, 1812, the Michigan Militia, under the command of Captain Antoine Dequindre, brought a cannon to the Rouge River and sank a British gunboat.

Live Detroit River Web Cam

Live Weather Data from
 Dossin Museum

Webcam Project now
 includes Sound

Edmund Fitzgerald
Memorial service WEBCAST

The Building of the
Edmund Fitzgerald

City of Cleveland Bell Auction
Final bid $9,100


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