L. L. Barth

LL barth

The LL Barth began its life as the SS Wilhelm in West Bay City Michigan in 1889. A wooden “propeller,” it would be used by an East Saginaw company to carry lumber and coal. In 1900 Mr. Edward Hines of the Chicago lumber company that carried his name purchased the 11-year old steamer to use in shipping lumber. Hines was a marketing genius who began at the age of 14, as an office boy for S.K. Martin & Company, a prominent Chicago lumber wholesaler. A natural salesman, Hines was named secretary-treasurer of the firm at just Not content to work for someone else, In 1892, Hines raised $200,000 to launch Edward Hines Lumber Co, in Chicago, a company we still recognize today.

LL Barth loaded with lumber

LL Barth loaded with lumber

Hines asked his former colleague  Louis L Barth to join the firm as his vice president. Despite the panic of 1893, Hines and Barth persevered, turning out the largest volume of lumber products sold that year. In 1900 the company purchased the SS Wilhelm to transport their lumber from regions in Michigan back to Chicago. Hines renamed the vessel after his partner LL Barth. After 17 years in service for, Jacob Sensibar of Construction Aggregates purchased the vessel. For another 9 years it carried stone from Grand Haven to its supply yards in Chicago.

At almost 40 years old, Construction Aggregates had its engine removed as it had the Aurora, and used tug boats to tow it. The aged tug Liberty was often used in that capacity. With the down turn of the economy in 1927, Construction aggregates abandoned the Barth on the shores of the Grand River.

Low lake water levels in the fall of 2012 and the spring of 2013 revealed a number of hulks along the banks of the Grand River in Grand Haven. MSRA went in search of the Barth, knowing that it had been abandoned in the vicinity. They found a wreck on private property adjacent to the Sims Power plant.

LL Barth Abandoned At Grand Haven

LL Barth Abandoned At Grand Haven

Detailed measurements and documentation indicated that the wreck matched the dimensions of the Barth.  This photograph of the hulk, taken within about ten years of being abandoned, appears to be right where the wreck exists today.

LL barth 2011 by van heest (1)

LL barth 2011 by van heest (2)

LL barth 2011 by van heest (3)