Lester R. Nichols II Memorial

On July 5, 2008, a fully restored lifeboat from the S.T. Crapo, located at the New Presque Isle Lighthouse, was dedicated to the Citizens of Presque Isle Township in memory of Lester R. Nichols II.

Les served as an urban planner, for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and developed public parks and recreation areas, throughout northern Michigan.

His vision and diligent efforts resulted in the acquisition of land and the development of the Presque Isle State Harbor, the 1840 Lighthouse, the 1870 Lighthouse and the Range Light for use as public parks. 

His grant writing generated $1,000,000 in state funding used to renovate the lighthouses and develop 134 acres for recreational use, without using tax dollars. 

Les also served as the chairman of the Presque Isle Township’s Parks and Recreation Committee and was the first recipient of the Township’s Citizen of the Year award. 

Les Nichols Memorial, Lifeboat from the S.T. Crapo

Photographer:  Maureen Brown

The Alpena News: Honoring Hard Work

The Alpena News: Life boat reminder of efforts

S.T. Crapo Lifeboat

In the fall of 2006, Mary Tanner, manager of the Presque Isle lighthouses at the time, suggested asking Lafarge (now, Holcim) if they would be wiling to donate a lifeboat from the S.T. Crapo which was moored in Green Bay, WI storing cement. Mary's husband, Mike, was a first class pilot for Inland Lakes Management, a company that hauled product for Lafarge. Lafarge agreed to donate the lifeboat and Inland Lakes Management transported it to Alpena where it was turned over to the Presque Isle Township Museum Society.

A crew of six volunteers spent close to 300 hours on the restoration ensuring the restoration was authentic. 

S.T. Crapo Lifeboat Restoration (2024)

Over the years, weather has taken its toll on the Lifeboat. The metal hull is in good condition, but the wood seats, gunwales, floorboards, rudder and other fittings are now deteriorated. 

We are looking for volunteers with finish carpentry skills to help with the woodwork needed to do the restoration. We envision this to be a short-term project from mid to late summer and fall in 2024, using the original fittings as templates for new fittings. If you are interested and would like to learn more about the project, please call Dennis Norton, 734-395-4901.

Donations to the restoration of the lifeboat may be made by mailing a check, made payable to the Presque Isle Township Museum Society with "Crapo Restoration" on the memo line, to the Presque Isle Township Museum Society, P.O. Box 208, Presque Isle, MI  49777, Your donation can also be made using any major credit card via PayPal using the link to the left.

PITMS is a 501(c)(3) organization and is recognized as a not-for-profit corporation under the laws of the State of Michigan.  Your gift to the restoration can be in honor or in memory of a friend or loved one.

S.T. Crapo

S.T. Crapo was named for Stanford Tappan Crapo, a co-founder of the Huron Portland Cement Company in Alpena, MI. From  her launching in 1927 to 1996, she traversed the Great Lakes each shipping season as a self-unloading powdered cement carrier. This was only the second vessel of this type built in the world with the first being the John W. Boardman four years earlier in 1923. In 1997, she was towed to Green Bay, WI for use as a cement storage vessel. In September 2022 after having been sold as scrap she was towed to Marine Recycling Corp. Port Colborne, ON. 

Sources of Information:

From the Collection of:

Kenneth Thro at University of Wisconsin- Superior

Stats and Information

Year Built: 1927

Builder: Great Lakes Engineering Works, River Rouge, MI

Laid Down: April 11, 1927

Launch Date: July 7, 1927

Commissioned: August 18, 1927

Laid up permanently: Sept 4, 1996

Arrived at scrapyard: September 29, 2022

General Stats

Length Overall: 402’06”

Breadth: 60’03”

Depth: 29′

Loaded Draft: 21’10”

Capacity: 8,190 Tons

Vessel Type: Self-Unloading Cement Carrier

Number of Cargo Holds: 6

Primary Operations: Cement Trade

Propellers: 1

Rudders: 1

Engine Type: Triple Expansion Steam Engine

Engine Manufacturer: Great Lakes Engineering Works, River Rouge, MI

Engine Model: 22 1/2”, 38”, 83” dia. x 42” stroke

Number of Engines: 1

Rated HP: 1800 IHP

Boiler Type: Coal-Fired Scotch Boilers

Boiler Manufacturer: Great Lakes Engineering Works, River Rouge, MI

Boiler Size: 3790 sq. ft.

Number of Boilers: 3



Owner: Huron Portland Cement Co., Alpena, MI

Operator: Huron Transportation

Home Port: Alpena, MI


Owner: Huron Portland Cement Co., Alpena, MI [National Gypsum Company]

Operator: Huron Transportation Co.

Home Port: Wilmington, DE


Owner: Inland Lakes Management, Alpena, MI

Operator: Inland Lakes Management [Under charter to Lafarge]

Home Port: Cleveland, OH


Owner: Inland Lakes Management, Muskegon, MI [Andrie, Inc.]

Operator: Inland Lakes Management [Under charter to Lafarge]

Home Port: Cleveland, OH

S.T. Crapo Lifeboat Restoration (2007-2008)


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Presque Isle Township Museum Society
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