William Clay Ford Pilot House

Perhaps the most memorable exhibit at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum is the S.S. William Clay Ford pilot house.

The William Clay Ford Great Lakes freighter provided years of reliable service transporting iron ore and coal from the upper Great Lakes to the River Rouge Steel Plant, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company.  Built in 1952 at the Great Lakes Engineering Works in River Rouge, Michigan, as a 647-foot straight-decked vessel, the William Clay Ford was lengthened to 767 feet in 1979.

Despite this change, the vessel still could not compete because freighter sizes and industry technology kept advancing.  As a result, it was finally scrapped in 1987 and its pilot house brought to the Dossin, eventually becoming part of the Museum itself.

By walking its floor, standing at its ship’s wheel, and looking out through its vast window onto the Detroit River, the exhibit offers visitors a truly unique experience!