The Southdown Challenger was built in 1906. She is currently the oldest "operating" boat on the
Great Lakes. The only other "freighters" that are older than her are the E.M.Ford (blt 1898) and the
J.B. Ford (blt 1904). She is one of the last boats on the Great Lakes to have a Skinner Uniflow
engine. The only others are the Carferries Badger and Spartan and the Upperlakes Shipping Co's
Steamer James Norris. The Challenger started out sailing under the Shenango Fleet of boats, as the William P. Snyder. In
1926 She was transferred to the Interlake Steamship Co. (Pickands Mather) and renamed Elton
Hoyt II (1). A few more years later she was renamed in 1952 the Alex D. Chisholm. After sailing for
Interlake for 41 years, in 1967 Medusa Cement bought the boat, converted her to oil fired fuel, and
converting her to a self unloading cement carrier, pioneered into the trade of Great Lakes Shipping.
Renaming her Medusa Challenger, for the sake that the company was willing to "Challenge" other
companies in the Cement Trade. In 1997, Medusa was bought and merged into the huge cement
plant company called Southdown. And thus, renaming the duo of boats, the Medusa Challenger
became Southdown Challenger, and the Medusa Conquest, becomes Southdown Conquest.
Hopefully the Southdown Challenger will see service well into the next century. She is truely a
"Queen of the Lakes"
The Southdown Conquest was built in 1937 at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company, Manitowoc Wis, as hull #292. Her current
dimensions are 419'9", by 55'3", by 28'. She was launched as the powered tanker Red Crown, and was renamed Amoco Indiana in 62. In 1987 She was
replaced by a barge, and was sold to Medusa Cement Company. She was shortened 45' and depened 2' and converted to a barge at Bay Shipbuilding Co, Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Her GT is 8,500 GT