The whaleback was a boat design by James McDougal first launched in 1887. The design had a rounded deck that blended in from the sides and ends of the boat, intended to slip through the water more easily. The first were barges, designed to be towed. The first powered version was built in 1890. The boats were intended as bulk grain carriers but the Christopher Columbus was built in 1893 as a passenger carrier for the Columbian Exposition. It was one of the largest passenger vessels on the great Lakes when built, 1500 tons, 360 feet long, 42 feet wide.
Its regular run was Milwaukee to Chicago and it ran without incident till 1936 when it was scrapped.
|Entering the Saint Joseph River at Benton Harbour.|
Below, three grain whalebacks in Buffalo harbour.