The Beginning

In 1875, two years after the city of Ludington was incorporated, the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad began cross-lake steamer service between Ludington and Sheboygan, Wisconsin to transport goods across Lake Michigan. The first small ships were wooden-hulled and were called “breakbulk” freighters because cargo was unloaded from rail cars by dockworkers onto the ship and then transferred back onto rail cars at the end of the journey. Milwaukee replaced Sheboygan as the primary Wisconsin port in 1876.