Edna G. The last coal-fired, steam-powered tugboat on Lake Superior

At the time of her retirement in 1981, the Edna G. was the last coal-fired, steam-powered tugboat operating on Lake Superior. Named for the daughter of J. L. Greatsinger, then-president of the Duluth & Iron Range Railroad Company, the tug was built in 1896 specifically to transport ore carriers to and from Two Harbors. She remained in service there for all but two years of her career, when she hauled coal barges along the East Coast during World War I.

Originally built with a wooden hull, the Edna G. was later converted to a steel-hulled boat and eventually reinforced to serve as an icebreaker. This facilitated the tug’s involvement in fire-fighting and rescue operations. Beneath her sturdy exterior, the Edna G.’s interior was rather lavish, with polished birch paneling and brass fittings.

Eventually rendered obsolete by advances in shipbuilding, including a switch to more energy-efficient diesel power, the steam-powered Edna G. remains in operating condition. She serves today as an interpretive center administered by the Lake County Historical Society.

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