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The Mackinaw was build in Toledo, Ohio during World War II in response to wartime demands. In order to keep shipping moving on the lakes in winter to sustain steel production, Congress authorized the construction of a state-of-the-art heavy icebreaking ship that would be permanently stationed in the Great Lakes.

The Toledo Shipbuilding Company laid her keel on March 20, 1943. Various delays in completion involved such heavy penalties that the firm was forced into bankruptcy, and the contract was taken over by the American Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. Less than a year later, the hull was launched and fitting out began. The Mackinaw was commission a few months later, arriving at her homeport, Cheybogan, Michigan, on December 30, 1944, where she has been stationed ever since.

When commissioned, Mackinaw was the most powerful and capable icebreaker in the world. She is still the standard by which other icebreakers are measured.

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Copyright © 1998 by James W. Hebert. All rights reserved.
Page Last modified: February 28, 1998