Building whaleback ships was an essential industry in Superior, Wisconsin, for more than a decade at the end of the 19th century. Of the 44 whalebacks serving on the Great Lakes in 1888, 39 were constructed in Duluth/Superior.
The S.S. Meteor was initially built in Superior and launched on April 25, 1896, as the S.S. Frank Rockefeller by the American Steel Barge Company. It was the 36th whaleback built in Duluth/Superior as the end of the whaleback boom began fading in the area.
In 1925, the 366-foot ship was remodeled and renamed the S.S. South Park. The ship was run aground by a storm in November 1942 near Manistique, Michigan, and later purchased by Cleveland Tankers and converted into a tanker ship in 1943 and renamed S.S. Meteor. Cleveland Tankers donated the ship to the City of Superior in 1972. It’s now located on Baker’s Island and can be toured from May to October.