SS City of Milwaukee

Also known as: City of Milwaukee, Car Ferry SS City of Milwaukee
99 Arthur St, Manistee, MI 49660

The last pre-war car ferry in "as built" condition


Your first view, travelling north

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in July 2020




The SS City of Milwaukee is the last of six sister ships built by Manitowoc Shipbuilding for the Lake Michigan car ferry service. The first two, the Pere Marquette 21 and Pere Marquette 22 went into service in 1924. The SS City of Milwaukee was built in 1931 for the Grand Trunk Railroad to replace the SS Milwaukee that was lost at sea with all hands in 1929.

Involved in cross-lake train car ferry service all of her working life (1931-1982), CITY OF MILWAUKEE is the sole surviving example of a pre-1940 "classic"-period Great Lakes car ferry. She embodies the distinctive charateristics of these specialized craft and possesses all the historic features associated with these vessels. She is presently docked at the Marine Terminal Railyard of the Ann Arbor Railroad where cross-lake ferry service began nearly 100 years ago.
-- National Historic Landmark statement of significance, December 14, 1990

Editor's Note: Things have changed since the National Park Service published the document. The SS City of Milwaukee was purchased by the Society for the Preservation of the SS City of Milwaukee and towed to Manistee, Manistee County, Michigan where the ship is docked and available for tours.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on December 14, 1990
Reference number
NR name
Areas of significance
Architecture; Maritime History; Transportation
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Water-related; Rail-related
Period of significance
Significant year

Update Log 

  • August 15, 2020: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • August 15, 2020: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • August 15, 2020: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status, updated description and added photos
  • March 28, 2015: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated Status and Corrected GPS coordinates