Side A: Lorain’s shipbuilding industry began when Augustus Jones and William Murdock began constructing wooden sailing vessels on the west side near the mouth of the Black River. The sloop General Huntington was the first boat launched from Lorain in 1819. In 1897, the shipbuilding industry moved to the east side of the river with the establishment of the Lorain yard of the Cleveland Shipbuilding Company, the precursor of the American Shipbuilding Company. In 1898, they were the largest dry dock on the Great Lakes. On April 13, 1898, the first steel ship, the Superior City, was launched. At the time, it was the largest vessel on fresh water. During the early years well-known passenger ships, railroad car ferries, tankers, self-unloaders, tugs, and barges were built here.
Side B: [Photo of Lorain] Although the shipyard experienced extensive damage during the June 28, 1924 tornado, the American Shipbuilding Company remained in Lorain and rebuilt the yard. Many vessels were built during World War II for the U.S. Navy, including the U.S.S. Lorain and the U.S.S. Lorain County. The Walter Sterling was lengthened to an ore carrier from a tanker in 1961, and 22 years later it was the last ship to be repaired in Lorain. The lengthening of ships to “super ships” then became a trend in the industry. The last ship built here was the William De Lancy, 1013 footer, in 1981. On December 1, 1983, the American Shipbuilding Company closed its Lorain yard, bringing an end to the industry that was Lorain’s first.
Sponsors: Ohio Bicentennial Commission, Black River Historical Society, and The Ohio Historical Society