Pretoria (ship)

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PRETORIA (schooner-barge) Shipwreck Site
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Nearest city: Bayfield, Wisconsin
Architect: Davidson, James
Governing body: State
MPS: Great Lakes Shipwreck Sites of Wisconsin MPS
Added to NRHP: August 17, 1994
NRHP Reference#: 94000835 [1]

The American ship Pretoria was one of the largest wooden ships ever constructed. The Pretoria was a schooner-barge, and 103 meters (338 ft) long, 13.4 meters (44 ft) wide and 7 meters (23 ft) in depth.

It was a barge built for use on the Great Lakes by James Davidson in West Bay City, Michigan. The Saginaw, Michigan newspaper the Courier-Herald described the Pretoria's launch on July 26, 1900 in the following way:

The schooner Pretoria, the largest wooden boat ever built, was launched at Davidson's shipyard this afternoon, in the presence of a vast multitude.

The Pretoria will carry 5,000 tons of iron ore, 175,000 bushels of wheat, or 300,000 bushels of oats...

To strengthen its wooden frame and hull, the Pretoria included steel keelson plates, steel chords, steel arches, and also it was diagonally strapped with steel. It needed a donkey engine to run a pump to keep its interior dry. The Pretoria sunk in a storm in 1905.[2]