Old Boblo Island boat catches fire at Detroit marina

Historic boat burns at Riverside Marina

DETROIT – One of the old boats from Boblo Island caught fire Friday at Detroit's Riverside Marina.

The cause of the fire is not currently known. Crews are on the scene. The fire, seen from Sky4 and Local 4 skycams, has engulfed the old boat.

The ship is grounded at the marina. Crews are working to extinguish the fire from all sides.

The S.S. Ste Claire was moved to Riverside Marina last year. In 2016, a collector bought the old ship with restoration plans

The story of Boblo Island

In 1898, the Detroit, Windsor and Belle Isle Ferry Company opened up a recreation park on the Detroit River, about 18 miles southwest of Windsor.

The company was busy during the week, moving people and goods up and down the river. They created a destination to keep themselves busy on the weekend.

The 18-mile boat ride was carried out by the famous ships: the Columbia, built in 1902, and the Ste. Claire, built in 1910.

Boblo was originally named Bois Blanc by the French, but residents couldn't pronounce the name. The non-French residents called it Boblo, and the name was officially accepted in 1949.

The first amusement park rides were moving by 1910. The Whip was installed in 1920, which was a huge hit, essentially paying for itself.

In 1949, the island was threatened by bankruptcy. Windsor Mayor Arthur John Reaume wanted the island to be designated a National Park.

Instead, the island and steamships were purchased by the Browning family.

They transformed the island into an amusement park, including a coaster, Ferris wheel, fun house and more. 

Read more about Boblo Island here.

BOBLO BOAT TOUR: Take a video tour of the historic boat that traveled the Detroit River for 81 years. http://bit.ly/2cIo6Ny (Video by Alex Atwell)

Posted by WDIV Local 4 / ClickOnDetroit on Wednesday, September 28, 2016

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.