Tour of Tug Ludington on the Kewaunee Waterfront

© Photographed July 3, 2016
Kewaunee, Kewaunee County, Wisconsin
44.459801, -87.501873
44°27'35.3"N 87°30'06.7"W
Google Map

The [sic] Tug Ludington was built at Jacobson Shipyard in Oyster Bay, New York. The tug was fourth in a series of eight seagoing tugboats constructed specifically for World War II. The keep was laid in February 1943 and the tug was completed in October of the same year.

After passing sea trials, the tug was formally accepted and christened the "Major Wilbur Fr. Bowder" by the U.S. Army who also officially designated the tug LT-4. Prior to this time, privately owned tugs were being commissioned and converted for wartime service.

In early 1944, the tug was towed along with two of its sister shops to S. Hampton, England. Probably for fuel conservation. [sic] 

The tug's armament consisted of two 50 caliber [sic] machine guns mounted above the chartroom and pilothouse. Tugboats were often strafed by enemy planes and submarines but were considered too small a target to waste a torpedo on.

The tub participate in the D-Day invasion of Normandy, towing ammunition barges across the English Channel. It eventually ended up in Cherbourg, France where it assisted harbor operations until being sent to Plymouth, England for the duration of the war.

At the end of the way, it joined the U.S. Army Transportation Corps. [sic] and returned to Norfolk, Virginia where it performed various towing assignments on the Eastern seaboard.

In 1947, the tug was transferred to Kewaunee, Wis. by the Corps of Engineers and was renamed the [sic] "Tug Ludington".

Since its arrival in Kewaunee, its mission was the construction and maintenance of many harbors on the Great Lakes. This distinguished vessel has towed a wide variety of floating equipment such as dredge barges, derrick barges, scows and crane barges. A conservative estimate is that the [sic] Tug Ludington has hauled over 1 million tons of cargo.

The tug is powered by an "Enterprise" diesel engine, developing 1,200 SHP at 275 RPMs, turning a 100" x 53" three-bladed propeller.
Length -- 115 ft.
Beam -- 26 ft.
Height -- 64 ft.
Freshwater draft -- 14 ft. 3 in.
1943 Construction cost -- $396,400
Displacement (loaded) -- 482 tons
Approximate range -- 8,000 miles
Gross tonnage - 249 tons
Speed, light -- 11 knots / 12 mph
Speed, loaded (2 scows) -- 7 knots / 8 mph
Wartime accommodations -- 26
Original Corp accommidations -- 14
Minimum operating crew -- 5
Fuel capacity -- 40,000 gal.
Fresh water capacity -- 2,000 gal.

Tug Ludington is docked in the Kewaunee Harbor and is located adjacent to Harbor Park, and is accessible from the easternmost end of Harrison Street, at its intersection with Main Street, Kewaunee, Wisconsin 54216.

Tud Ludington is listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Wisconsin, and the State Register of Historic Places.

Ring the bell for tour and to pay your $1.00.

From the pamphlet handed to me at the start of the tour:


Visitors enter the Tud Ludington
at their own risk.

Always use hand rails. Watch for low
overheads, and high thresholds.

Everyone is urged to exercise care at all
times, using special precautions
in hazardous areas.

Children must always be accompanied by
an adult responsible for their [the child's] safety.

Failure to comply with these instructions
will result in the cancellation of
visiting privileges.

The Tug is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
Not sure about the referenced to the Wisconsin Historical Society . . .

Tug Ludington in service, circa 1949
Port South Haven, Michigan
Left to right: The Tug Racine for steerage,
the quarter's boat Sheboygan,
the derrick barges DK21 and DK7,
the scow FLST 22,
all towed by Tug Ludington (out in front).

The entire room -- can't imagine how noisy and hot it must have been!

Engine Statistics
Four Cycle, Eight Cylinder
16 in. bore
20 in. stoke
1200 hp at 275 rpm
13,168 cubic in. total displacement
Fuel injecting timing 14.3 degrees before top center
Set -- 6 in. before top center of diameter flywheel
Firing order ahead 1-4-7-3-8-5-2-6
Firing order astern 1-6-2-5-8-3-7-4
Fuel-injection pump rack at full oad
25mm hydraulic lifters
Air starting system

Diesel Marine Engine
Manufactured by De Laval Turbine, Inc.
Enterprise Division, Oakland, Calif.
This is a direct drive engine; there is no transmission. To start the engine it must be heated and then the fuel is turned on. Compressed air from the air tanks starts to rotate the engine pistons. Once the engine fires up, the drive shaft begins to rotate and this turns the propeller at approximately 275 r.p.m.

To reverse the direction the engine must be totally shut down with the fuel turned off. The camshaft control is moved and the camshaft slides by air to the opposite direction. The process to start the engine is started all over again with the exception of heating the engine.

Other features include the electric towing winch with a drum capacity of 2,500 ft. of 1 1/2 in. diameter two-wire cable. It's mounted  below the deck to keep it protected from the weather. It's hydraulic system is capable of steering the rudder from hard over to hard over in 12 seconds. The tug is also equipped with an anchor windless / capstan to raise and lower the 1,000 lb. anchor and its 990 fee of chain.
These steep steps, which I chose not to traverse, lead to the sleeping
quarters of the enlisted sailors, whose bunks are stacked in threes.

The captain's quarters.

The first mate's quarters.

A member of the "duck-and-cover" generation, I found this interesting!

View of the top deck from the bridge.

Get to the bow and you get to ring the bell!

The front of the tug with the ship's bell visible in the center of the photo.

Looking northeast from the bow.

The tour guide did not know what castle symbol represents.

Love this tug!

See also, Early History of Kewaunee, an historical marker,
also at this location.

Looking west from the sea wall.

View of Tug Ludington from the parking lot.

Access the tour of Tug Ludington from Harbor Park.

Tug Ludington is located in Kewaukee, Wisconsin.

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