By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 15, 2022 at 7:14 AM

Fans of Milwaukee – and Great Lakes – history who haven't signed up for the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society's mailing list are missing out.

The group – headquartered at Milwaukee Public Library, which I featured in this story a few years back – is very active in terms of collecting and archiving documents and photos and objects and also hosts numerous events each year.

The newsletter is an easy way to find a cool old photo in your inbox every week (sometimes more). And, because these folks are history buffs like the rest of us, there's always a story behind the photo and the WMHS folks share that story.

Here is today's story – written by Suzette Lopez – from the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society:

On Nov. 15, 1938, the JAMES E. McALPINE was in Milwaukee loading its cargo.  I wasn’t able to find any newspaper report of it but we have these great photos I wanted to share showing how it was done in 1938 and the working conditions.

The McALPINE was built as the WILLIAM H. TRUESDALE in 1908 at Lorain, Ohio, by the American Ship Building Company for the Empire Steamship Company managed by the Brown Steamship Company and measured 432 feet in length, 52 feet in beam and 28 feet in depth. 

Her original namesake, the President of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Company, attended her launching after traveling from New York City to Lorain in his private car Lake Forest.  She was renamed in 1934 but owned by Brown throughout her career.

 The McALPINE sailed into the early 1960s.  After being inactive for a few years she was purchased in 1965 by Marine Salvage along with the J. J. H. BROWN. 

They were loaded with scrap iron and sailed through the St. Lawrence and then were towed overseas to Italian shipbreakers in Genoa, arriving on July 19, 1965.


(PHOTOS:  Great Lakes Marine Collection of the Milwaukee Public Library and Wisconsin Marine Historical Society.)

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.