S.S. Hamonic

October 16, 2005

One of the great old steam ships that used to sail the great lakes was the S.S. Hamonic. The Hamonic and her sister ship were owned by the Northern Navigation Company.

All of the photos below were kindly scanned and donated from the collection of Thomas R. Anderson II.

The steamer Hamonic heading south on the St. Clair River towards Detroit, passing under the Blue Water Bridge

Another shot of the Hamonic. This sporting the dual titles of both the Northern Navigation Company & Canada Steamship Lines.

The business card of T.R. Anderson, Purser of the Hamonic.

A view of the main dining room on the S.S. Hamonic.

A photo of two of the three sister ships of the Northern Navigation Company, The Hamonic (on the left), the Noronic (on the right) and the Huronic (not pictured). The Noronic burned in her berth in Toronto in 1949, with the loss of 118 souls. The Hamonic burned at Point Edward in her berth in 1945. However due to the quick reaction of her heroic Captain, there were no fatalities. The Huronic ran aground in 1928, was refloated and converted to cargo use in 1930’s, and was scrapped at Hamilton in 1950.

36 Responses to S.S. Hamonic

  1. Secret Admirer on October 17, 2005 at 3:34 pm

    Wow, you know so much about big boats!

    So I am your first comment.

    Job well done. How come you can see that code at the bottom of the screen?

  2. Patty Collins on January 16, 2006 at 9:11 pm

    Was Warren Dupke ever a passenger on the Hamonic maybe in about 1943????????? I his daughter has pictures of him on the hamonic. Please contac me if you con. Iwould like to khow the history of the ship. Why he was on it and where he went. Patty Collins e-mail gpcollinsrj@yahoo.com Patty Collins

  3. Daye on April 28, 2006 at 7:01 pm

    Do you have a picture of a solid oak deck chair that was on the Hamonic ship?
    I need a picture to verify that the chair I have was on one of those cruise ships.

  4. Linda McLean on May 22, 2006 at 5:03 pm

    I have pictures taken on that ship in 1927 if anyone is interested. The pictures have people in them but you can see some of the ships deck in them. My grandmother made the trip west from Ontario with 3 other girls and a chaperone.

    You can contact me at dewdrop@shaw.ca

  5. Denise Billups-Walker on September 16, 2006 at 5:24 pm

    I had aunts and uncles who worked on each of the three ships, one uncle was an oiler or a fireman – I can’t remember which, and the other was chief engineer.

    I remember an old photo that hung in my grandmother’s parlor in Sarnia and she had clippings on the fire.

    I think my parents took a honeymoon trip on either the Hamonic or Noronic – wish I had asked more questions as a child…

    Denise

  6. Bill Street on December 13, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    I have a commeritive plate from the S S Hamonic. If anyone is interested in a purchase please send an email.
    Thanks,
    Bill

  7. HAMONIC Daniel on March 26, 2007 at 6:05 am

    II’m interesting to know wich was Mr; HAMONIC. Thank you for yours documents.

  8. randy on June 5, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    When the Hamonic burnt, was the only person killed one of the dock workers or one of the passengers.
    Other question is The NOronic burned rather quickly did the Hamonic burn as quickly?

  9. Lee Fitzgerald on June 23, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    We took our 1949 Senior Trip to Mackinac on the Hamonic. That was the Senior Class of Lincohn High School of Ferndale, Michigan. Before our trip, we were shown a movie in our High School Auditorium about cruises and about the etiquette observed, especially relative to dining.
    I don’t understand how this article describes the Hamonic as burning in 1945. I thought both the Hamonic and the Noronic were still operating in the late 40s. Or?

  10. TRA II on June 29, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    The Hamonic did burn in July of 1945 (the 17th, I think). It only took about 20 minutes to burn the entire ship and the single casualty was a dock worker (heart attack). A short article can be found at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,801665,00.html . Maybe you were on the Noronic, which burned on September 16, 1949 in Toronto at Pier 9. She only took 15 minutes to burn. By that I mean from the start of the fires to a point that they were completely engulfed in flames. Although both were steel-hulls the superstructure and interiors were all wood. The cherry and oak panelling was hand rubbed each day with lemon oil, which was as flamable as fuel oil!

  11. TRA II on July 5, 2007 at 11:30 am

    Mr. Street,

    Did you ever sell that plate? If not, I’d like to take a look at it, but I don’t have your email address. Andrew does, but I don’t!

  12. Amanda Hamonic on February 21, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    My family was originally from France, but we have been in Canada for four generations now. For whom was the S.S. Hamonic named? If you have any historical information on the namesake, I would greatly appreciate it.

  13. Allan Browne on April 12, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    NOW IN 2008 IT IS INTERESTING TO COME UPON THE HAMMIE AND THE NORRIE ONCE AGAIN .
    AS A YOUTH I LIVED IN POINT EDWARD ON THE ST CLAIR RIVER AND DUE TO SHORTAGE OF MEN GONE TO WAR WE, AS YOUNGSTERS , ( I WAS 15 IN 1945 ) WERE WORKING ON THE BOATS AND ALSO AT THE FREIGHT SHED FROM WHICH THE HAMONIC CAUGHT FIRE AND BURNED. MY BROTHER AND I WERE BOTH ABOARD WHEN THE SHIP PULLED OFF THE DOCKS AND OUT INTO THE STREAM. WE WERE BUSBOYS IN THE DINING ROOM. IT WAS CAPTAIN – OOPS NAME IS GONE – JIM, SOMETHING , WHO SAVED OUR LIVES AND ONCE ON THE RIVER CHARLES AND I JUMPED INTO THE RIVER AND DESPITE THE FAST CURRENT WE SWAM TO SHORE ON THE CANADIAN SIDE NOT FAR BELOW THE TRAGEDY, SEEMS TO ME IT WAS PURDY FISHERIES DOCKS. ALL OUR KIT WAS LOST ON BOARD BUT WE DID NOT OWN VERY MUCH IN THOSE DAYS.
    IN 1949 I SIGNED ON NORONIC AS A DECKHAND TO MAKE HER LAST TRIP OF THE SEASON FROM SARNIA TO DETROIT TO TORONTO. MY INTENTION WAS A FREE RIDE TO TORONTO WHERE I LEFT THE SHIP UPON ARRIVAL AND HITCH-HIKED TO OWEN SOUND TO ATTEND A HOCKEY TRAINING CAMP FOR THE ST. LOUIS FLYERS OF THE AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE FOR A TRYOUT. IT WAS WITH A GREAT DEAL OF DISMAY AS WELL AS RELIEF THAT I OPENED A PAPER TO READ ABOUT THE FIRE AND I RECALL THE HEADLINE TO THIS DAY -“119 PERISH IN FIRE “.
    THOSE WERE EPIC EVENTS IN MY LIFE AND STILL ARE. I SUBSEQUENTLY JOINED THE RCN FLEET AIR ARM AND HAVE ALWAYS CONTINUED MY ADDICTION FOR GOING TO SEA.

  14. TRA II on August 30, 2008 at 2:32 am

    Amanda; Northern Navigation had given their ships names that ended in “nic” for whatever reason. The huronic was named for Lake Huron, but I can’t recall who or what the Noronic was named for. The Hamonic was named for H. C. Hammond, President of Northern Navigation at the time of her construction. Sorry it wasn’t any relation to your family. There’s an NHL player with your last name, I believe. Any relation to you?

  15. TRA II on August 30, 2008 at 2:43 am

    Mr. Browne: What an amazing coincidence! To be on both ships just before they were destroyed is simply amazing! The Captain of the Hamonic was Horace L. Beaton of Sarnia.

  16. John Hennigar- Shuh on April 8, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    How amazing the power of Google. I’ve been sitting on the coast of Nova Scotia looking at my Baby Book on the eve of my 65th birthday; in this book, my mother records that my first boat ride was on the SS Hamonic, which sailed from Sarnia to Port Arthur, from August 29th to 31st\, 1944. Is there a passenger list that would confirm that? The passengers would be Edward and Evelyn Shuh and their infant son John.

  17. Bill Miller on December 26, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Hi. My grandfather was John Goodison of Sarnia. We have what we think is the compass from the wheel house of the Hamonic. Do you have a contact name for compass manufacturer – we are looking to do some restorative work on this piece.

    You have a very interesting site here – good job!

  18. Steve Bell on January 7, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    compass is probly a ES Ritchie in Boston http://www.ritchienavigation.com/company/ but they refer repairs/inquiries to Howard at http://www.vikingoptics.com/

    Was John Goodison a crew member of the ship ? or a passenger maybe ?

  19. gord phillips on May 3, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    I have a sugar and cream set from the Hamonic. My dad sailed on that boat the day she burnt.He worked on her but I don`t no for how long.

  20. Harry gamble on May 22, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Is there any pitchures of the wheel house of the Huronic as I think I have aquired the brass steering station , telegraph,and polaris stand from it .The articles are similar to the pitchure of Noronic navigation equipment.I bought the from a relative of United Metal of Hamilton Ont.

  21. Harry gamble on June 21, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Hoping to find information on the ship wheel station that I have it is similar to the one pitchured on the Noronic.

  22. Dr Craig on September 5, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Harry, I have two pictures of the wheel house of the Huronic.
    How can I get hold of you to send you a scan of them?

  23. JM on October 5, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Harry and/or Dr Craig.. The Marine Museum in Kingston Ontario has the original shipbuilder drawings for the Hamonic, including the wheel house, so they may also have it for the Huronic. And they will make you a copy of any print you want (large blueprint size) for a nominal fee.

    Harry, can you tell me who the manufacturer of the wheel/polaris stand is ? Also, if there was a ship’s clock in the wheel house, does anyone know which Clock company it would have been ? please send email to jmmx3@hotmail.com. cheers..

  24. julie on December 1, 2010 at 2:14 am

    I have a picture of my husband’s great grandmother on board the top deck, dated 1913. It is so interesting to read the stories.

  25. Johnna on November 3, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Hi we are looking for really good photos of the Hamonic’s Steam Whistles and also her Ships Wheel. Thanks pjshelton@csinet.net

  26. Tony Dierckins on November 17, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Please contact me about obtaining the rights to use some of your images in a book. Thanks!

  27. Del Jackson on November 17, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    I remember being awakened by blaring boat whistles on the morning that the Hamonic ship was on fire.I got up and ran to Pine Grove Park and had a panoramic view from the banks of the St. Clair river. I was 15 at the time and the spectacle is forever etched into my brain. Many people were screaming and jumping or diving from the ships deck.

  28. Harry Gamble on March 2, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I have a steering station and chadburn identical to the ones shown in Doug Garret book the Noronic.I purchased them the family that cut the Noronic in Hamilton Ontario United Metals.It was displayed in their office during the 70s.I have tried to get info but there is nobody from that era around anymore .

  29. Daniel Helmerson on May 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    There is a video on YouTube of the Hamonic cruising from Duluth to Isle Royale ca. 1928
    http://youtu.be/i9epUrVV_3E
    To search for it on YouTube type in: Duluth and Isle Royale, 1928.

  30. Rod George on September 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    My grandfather – Robert George Sr. – along with other family members, were the fishermen who took their fishing boat to the burning S.S. Harmonic in the river at Point Edwards & rescued the people from the ship. I’m having some trouble finding more information about their life saving efforts. Is there anyone who could offer any information?

  31. Johnna on September 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    We have the whistle off of Ship 22 / S.S. Hamonica and are looking for good pictures of the smoke stack showing it. Anyone who would like to see the whistle in person and blowing can come to the Whistles on the Water Event at Palmer Park in St Clair Michigan next Saturday September 29, 2012. This is the largest single note whistle that we know of. It is 14 inches in diameter and weighs 600 pounds and has an forgettable sound. If you can’t make to the Event we do have amature video available. Please email us if you have any pictures at pjshelton@csinet.net

  32. Johnna on September 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Hello everyone we just wanted to let any of you that were planning on going to the Whistles on the Water Event in St Clair Michigan this Saturday to hear the S.S. Hamonic’s Whistle Blow that it’s not going to make it there after all. I sustain a neck injury and can’t make the trip. There will still be plenty of magnificant whistles there so it would still be well worth your trip to go see and hear them. We plan on being there next year with the S.S. Hamonic’s. We are still looking for some good pictures of her smoke stack showing our whistle on her. Thanks for any help you can give us. Paul & Johnna

  33. Milt Martyn on February 19, 2013 at 11:26 am

    my maternal grandmother , Elizabeth Sime was a cre member on the Hamonic, and on the Huronic, during the late ’20’s. I’d really like to know if anyone had relatives on these ships, especially if anyone knows of a Jack Flowers, who was a purser on the Hamonic at the same time as my grandmother. Thanks. Milt Martyn

  34. Milt Martyn on February 19, 2013 at 11:27 am

    my email is mmartyn6423@gmail.com, Milt Martyn

  35. Harry Gamble on September 1, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I am still hoping to find the ship the steering station ,chadburn , telegraph and the polaris stand came from as they are like the book of Garret on the Noronic which was scrapped in Hamilton. My email harrygamble@ymail.com Also I have collected artifacts from the SS Imperial Windsor renamed Cardinal.

  36. Betty Cole on August 23, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    My great-grandfather who I never knew,spent time on all three sister ships. In 1919 he was master of the steamer Huronic, then went to the steamer Hamonic for about a year and a half.In 1922 he was appointed to the steamer Noronic which he piloted until 1930.The Noronic was the flagship of the Northern Navigation fleet owned by the Canadian Steamship Lines and at the time was the largest Canadian passenger ship on the Great Lakes. The name”Noronic” comes from The Northern Navigation Company(NO), “RO” stands for the Richelieu & Ontario Line, and “NIC” represents the traditional name ending letters of all passenger liners of the NNC.
    Captain Bert Aitken died in 1942 before I was born so I did not have the privilege of knowing him. If any one has any stories about him, I would love to hear them.
    Betty bcole@xcelco.on.ca

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