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December 2011

Lumber Hooker C. H. Starke

Lumber Hooker C. H. Starke
Charles E. Frohman Collection


The C. H. Starke was a propeller steam barge, also known as a lumber hooker. She was laid down in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1881. She was built of wood and was 149 feet in length. Her capacity was 600,000 feet of lumber. The cargo was loaded in the barge's hold and stacked on her deck as shown in this photograph. Steamers like the C. H. Starke could tow up to four barges.


In 1883, her engine was replaced. While testing, the engine blew up. In 1891, the C. H. Starke was sold by Conrad Starke to John H. Stevens and Paul H. Hoeft. of Detroit for $23,000. Hoeft, of Rogers City, Michigan, was one of the state's lumber barons.

By 1911, the C. H. Starke was also carrying iron, cement, and coal from Detroit and Alpena, Michigan to Chicago, Illinois. Having fulfilled her usefulness, she was abandoned in 1925. |

In 1922, Hoeft donated one mile of heavily wooded Lake Huron shoreline at Rogers City. It became one of Michigan's fourteen original state parks .