The Burning Of The Bradley
By James Donahue
From the day it rolled down the ways at Wheeler’s Shipbuilding yard at Bay City, Michigan, the
Charles H. Bradley was exactly what it still was on the day it burned . . . a lumber hooker.
The steamer served 41 faithful years in that capacity, its decks laden with the lumber cut from the
great forests that once stood along the Great Lakes coastlines. Because it was only 201 feet in length, the Bradley was usually
always accompanied by a barge-in-tow, also filled with lumber.
Lumber was big business along the lakes in those early years.
The Bradley met its end unexpectedly at the south entry to the Keweenaw Waterway on the morning of
October 9, 1931. The vessel was partly loaded with pulpwood for Georgian Bay and had the usual consort, the 218-foot barge
Grampian in tow as it headed into the channel.