Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Related Content
Document Type
  • Ship History
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials
Lake Michigan
(Str: t. 1,243; l. 261'; b. 43'6"; dr. 17'9"; s. 10 k.; cpl. 64; a. 1 5", 1 3")

The third largest of the five Great Lakes and the only one entirely within the United States.

Lake Michigan, a mine and cargo ship, was launched under USSB contract as War Finch 22 September 1917 by American Shipbuilding Co., Cleveland, Ohio; acquired by the Navy 12 December 1917; and commissioned as Lake Michigan 30 January 1918 at New York, Lt. Comdr. G. P. Woodward, USNRF, in command.

Assigned to NOTS, Lake Michigan operated out of Norfolk until 5 March, carrying coal to Portsmouth, N.H., and Philadelphia. Loaded with general cargo and mines, she sailed in convoy 7 March for Europe and arrived Queenstown, Ireland, 27 March. After proceeding to Dublin the 31st, she steamed from Dublin to Norfolk via New York 17 April to 19 May.

Lake Michigan departed Norfolk 31 May with another cargo of mines and Army supplies. During the next 7 months she made three round trips from Norfolk to Scottish and English ports. Returning to Norfolk from Inverness, Scotland, 24 December 1918, she resumed transport service from Norfolk 15 January 1919. From then until 23 June she carried coal, gasoline, and general cargo, sailing twice to the Azores and Boston and once each to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; New York; Bermuda; and Melville, R.I.

Lake Michigan made her third trip to the Azores 15 to 26 July with a full cargo of coal. After operating in the Azores for almost 2 months, she returned to New York 10 to 25 September, decommissioned 4 October, and was returned to USSB the same day. In 1922 she was sold to Lloyd Royal Beige to operate out of Antwerp as Picardie.