Lake Michigan, a 2020 gross ton (4400 tons displacement) freighter, was built at Cleveland, Ohio, in 1917 as part of the World War I emergency ship construction effort. She was ordered by the British as War Finch but was requisitioned by the U.S. Shipping Board and renamed while under construction. Completed in November 1917, Lake Michigan was acquired by the Navy and commissioned on 30 January 1918 at New York. After several coastal voyages carrying coal, she commenced service as a mine transport, carrying mines and related supplies to the United Kingdom and probably returning in ballast. She conducted a total of four transatlantic round trip voyages between April and December 1918, then resumed carrying coal along the U.S. east coast, to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and to the Azores. USS Lake Michigan was decommissioned and returned to the Shipping Board on 4 October 1919 at New York. In 1920 she became the Belgian merchantman Picardier and on 21 November 1923 was wrecked in the Baltic.
This page features the only view we have concerning USS Lake Michigan (ID # 2993) and the civilian freighter Lake Michigan (later Picardier) of 1917.
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Photo #: NH 105214
S.S. Lake Michigan (American Freighter, 1917)
In port, possibly when inspected by the Third Naval District on 27 December 1917, after the ship was acquired by the Navy on 12 December 1917 and before she was commissioned as USS Lake Michigan (ID # 2993) on 31 January 1918. She was returned to the U. S. Shipping Board on 4 October 1919.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 49KB; 740 x 515 pixels
Page made 11 September 2007