Author Archives: Michael L. Grace

Death ships: COSTA CONCORDIA revisited… SEWOL, the Korean Ferry, Becomes 100th Passenger Vessel Lost Since 2002…

At least four people are dead and nearly 300 missing after a ferry boat sank off South Korea’s southern coast Wednesday. Authorities initially reported most of the passengers were rescued but quickly backtracked and raised casualty figures dramatically as the scale of the tragedy became clear. The passenger ferry was carrying more than 462 people on board, most of them ... Read More »

MICKEY ROONEY (1920-2014) RIP – from the RMS QUEEN MARY to the SUPER CHIEF to ANDY HARDY on the SS CATALINA…

“Tennessee Williams, who knew more about actors than anybody in our time … said, ‘There’s only one great actor in the United States and that is Mickey Rooney. … He can do anything. He sings, he dances, he can make you weep. He can play tragedy, he can play comedy,’ ” Gore Vidal – 2007 Mickey Rooney (one of the ... Read More »

The Bianca C (formerly the La Marseillaise and Arosa Sky) ended up as a diving attraction off the island of Grenada.

The Bianca C, on the ocean floor off the island of Grenada, faces strong tidal currents, making this an advanced deep dive (with a checkout dive required). The top deck lies at 90 feet and most dives proceed around the stern, where you can swim into the pool, visit the wheelhouse on the aft deck and peer down at the ... Read More »

THE “NIGHT FERRY” carried the DUKE AND DUCHESS OF WINDSOR from LONDON TO PARIS…

The “Night Ferry” was the first, and until the opening of the Channel Tunnel the only, through train from London to Paris. The “Night Ferry” being loaded to cross the English Channel. The train was made up of sleeping cars provided by the CIWL (Companie Internationale des Wagon-lits or International Sleeping Car Company) of “Orient Express” fame. (Left) The Duke ... Read More »

Southern Pacific’s COAST DAYLIGHT was America’s most beautiful train!

The Coast Daylight had its inaugural run on March 1, 1937 between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It was hauled by GS-2 steam locomotives. It was the first of the Daylight series that also included the San Joaquin Daylight, Shasta Daylight, Sacramento Daylight, and Sunbeam. The Coast Daylight ran behind steam from March 1937 until it was dieselized on January ... Read More »

THE DURBAN CASTLE – DEATH CRUISE…

Murder, suspicious deaths and disappearing at sea aboard liners from Cunard to Union-Castle have made cruise history.   The romantic decks of “The Love Boat” can be a very dangerous place. As for cruising the past, history finds there were two or three murders supposedly linked to Cunard Line’s RMS Queen Mary before WW 2.  Another murder druing the during the ... Read More »

1938 – SS St. Louis – The Voyage of the Damned…

What was the Coast Guard’s role in the SS St. Louis affair, often referred to as “The Voyage of the Damned”? SS ST LOUIS arrives Havana, Cuba. But never docked in Havana Harbor.  In the years since the end of the Second World War, the exact role of the US Coast Guard in the so-called “Voyage of the Damned” has ... Read More »

The LOS ANGELES STEAMSHIP COMPANY… USC rooters heading north for Stanford game on the SS YALE!

 They called them the “White Flyers of the Pacific.”  Overnight by sea between Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco… USC rooters heading north from Los Angels to San Francisco on the SS Yale for the Stanford/USC football game.  The sister ships Yale and Harvard were the fastest steamships on the California coast. Between 1911 and 1936—with a few years ... Read More »

COASTAL SHIPS – from Vancouver to British Columbia ports and Alaska… the Union Steamship Company…

The Klondike gold rush galvanized the Union Steamship Company to begin operations in Alaska. The company was founded in 1889 by John Darling, the director of a New Zealand shipping company who recognized a great need for a scheduled service that would transport supplies and work crews to various northern BC sites; he also realized there was little competition in ... Read More »

Social History: 1940s Promotional Film Shows Chicago From Another Era…

From United Airlines to Rock Island Streamliners to Cruise-Ships… Incredible film produced by the Chicago Board Of Education gives an aerial and ground tour of Chicago during the 1940s where it shows the city’s former industrial areas, its educational institutions and art deco skyline.  Chicago – A Film from the Chicago Board Of Education on Vimeo. Click on above to watch ... Read More »