Boblo boat pulls out of Detroit for last time



Tuesday morning, the SS Columbia was dragged away from its dock in Ecorse to be deposited in Toledo where the Columbia Project will take the boat out of the water in order to make repairs. The non-profit project has been trying to attain the rights to rehab the boat for years. Now that they have the opportunity, the Columbia Project will pour somewhere between ten to twenty million into the restoration. It's also likely that the Columbia will never return to the Detroit area.

The lack of use after the Boblo Amusement Park closed down led to the ship falling into severe disrepair. Paint began to chip, wood started to rot and the deck began to fall apart. The vessel that used to transport happy families to and from the park will be repaired and used as a tourism resource on the Hudson River in New York.

The Columbia was constructed in Wyandotte and finished 1902. Measuring in at just a hair short of 208 feet, the steamship was designed by Frank E. Kirby. During the season, all three decks on board would be filled with passengers making the eighteen mile trek to Bois Blanc Island, where the park was located. The trip from Detroit to Boblo took ninety minutes one way. 

Bon voyage, Columbia. Thank you for the memories.

You can learn more about the future of the SS Columbia on the Columbia Project's website.

Now see: 30 Nostalgic Photos of the Boblo Island Amusement Park>>


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.