S.S. BADGER – The largest car ferry ever to sail Lake Michigan. 56 years of service. And starting another season in May.


A video of the S.S. Badger…

S.S. BADGER: A little history, a lot of fun!

qffsv35lerfmytwmvvfglehh5uqlef40jz6ujtoux4ohwqwefd3olkohdov20c7oaac6o6zwu.jpg The S.S. Badger is the largest car ferry ever to sail Lake Michigan, and has provided a safe, fun, and reliable shortcut across the huge inland sea for more than fifty years. The S.S. Badger is a national treasure, offering a cruise experience that links us to an earlier time when a sea voyage was the ultimate travel and vacation adventure.

As the only coal-fired steamship in operation in North America, the S.S. Badger operates on domestic fuel, and the company has  an extraordinary commitment to maintaining a unique propulsion system that has been designated as a national mechanical engineering landmark. The S.S. Badger offers an authentic steamship experience unmatched anywhere else.

The 410′ S.S. Badger entered service in 1953, designed specifically to handle the rough conditions that it would likely encounter during year ’round sailing on Lake Michigan. Built primarily to transport railroad freight cars, but with superior passenger accommodations, the Badger reigned as Queen of the Lakes during the car ferries’ Golden Era in the late Fifties, with Manitowoc, Milwaukee, and Kewaunee as her Wisconsin ports of call.

qffsv35lepkqlwn3kgbymj5lemqsofdixtkaqwjdv2kef1uukqg1gqsmpguu8sy.jpgBy the Seventies, changing railroad economics were condemning other car ferries to mothballs or the scrap yard. With little railroad freight business left, and without ever tapping into the opportunity to serve the needs of the vacation traveler, the Badger sailed from Wisconsin to Ludington and tied up for the last time in November 1990 – signaling the end of the century-old tradition of car ferry service on Lake Michigan.

The demise of the car ferries was devastating to the communities they had served and the thousands of passengers who loved them. It seemed that the magic of these wonderful ships would only live in memory, never to be experienced by future generations.

800px-ssbadger.jpgHowever, in 1991, an entrepreneur named Charles Conrad committed his own financial resources to reinvent the S.S. Badger to carry leisure passengers and their vehicles.

Since then, this legend of the Great Lakes has delighted a whole new generation of people, allowing them to experience a bit of history that almost slipped away while cruising to fun destinations on both sides of Lake Michigan.

The S.S. Badger now sails daily between Manitowoc, Wisconsin and Ludington, Michigan from mid-May through mid-October.  For information click here.

Blending tradition with innovation, the Badger affords a rare opportunity to take a step back into the past and take a journey that’s as important as the destination.
S.S. BADGER HISTORICAL AWARDS & DESIGNATIONS

1996
The Badger’s propulsion system designated a mechanical engineering landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers

1997
The Badger officially named a Registered Michigan Historic Site by the Michigan Historical Commission

1997
The Badger officially named a Registered Wisconsin Historic Site by the Wisconsin Historical Commission

1997
Lake Michigan Carferry designated a Michigan Centennial Business by the Historical Society of Michigan

2002
The Badger is named Ship of the Year by the Steamship Historical Society of America

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About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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