More than 300 people visit Tug Ohio in December

The Tug Ohio is coming to the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo. (National Museum of the Great Lakes)

More than 300 people visited the Tug Ohio on a special “Before Restoration Tour” last month at the National Museum of the Great Lakes.

Those visitors will be some of the first guests to visit the restored tug this spring, when the work is complete.   

Great Lakes Towing Co. donated the tug to the Toledo museum, which tells the story of the five lakes, and how critical they are to the economic and political history of North America. Paul LaMarre III, director of the Port of Monroe, helped arrange the donation.

The 106-foot-long ship was built 1903 as a Milwaukee fireboat named the Laurence Turner and later converted to a tug. It was “Lake Class,” assigned to long hauls across the Great Lakes, plus ice breaking and wrecking and salvage work since 1952. The towing company believes it’s traveled more miles than any of its other ships.

“It is wonderful to have such a great responses from the public for this new attraction at the National Museum of the Great Lakes,” museum Executive Director Christopher Gilchrist said.

The tug’s exterior will be restored over the next three to four months, with a planned public opening for next spring. During the winter, volunteers will restore the interior. The total cost is expected to be $30,000.

The tug will eventually be secured in front of the museum’s freighter, SS Col. James M. Schoonmaker, in the Maumee River.

See more photos of the Tug Ohio on cleveland.com/rock-the-lake.

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