John Craig

(1838-1934)

Shipbuilder

Originally, Craig was a New Yorker and was present when Lincoln delivered his famous speech at the Cooper Union which drew national attention and paved the way to his Republican nomination for President in 1860.

John Craig started in the shipbuilding business in Keyport NJ, where he created two new ships out of a pair of burnt-out hulks.  He then built a new ship in Wicomico Creek MD before moving to Michigan in 1866.  His first Michigan shipyard was in Gibraltar, just above the mouth of the Detroit River, where he built 21 ships before moving upriver to Trenton in 1883. The Trenton site was not large enough so in 1890 he moved again, to Front Street in Toledo where he built 107 Great Lakes vessels. 

 

In 1906, Craig retired and his sons sold the yard to local investors, who renamed it Toledo Shipbuilding and leased it to The American Ship Building Company, (AmShip).  Under AmShip's management, it continued as an active shipbuilder until 1930, after which it was limited to repair and conversion work, except for the construction of two icebreakers during WWII.  At the end of the war, AmShip bought the site and renamed the business AmShip Toledo; they continued to concentrate on the repair and conversion business, building only 12 ships and four forebodies between then and 1982, when AmShip closed. The property then reverted to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, which has since leased it to a succession of ship repair contractors. 

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