Board a Steam Freighter: The William G. Mather

A Brief History:

Named after the President of Cleveland-Cliffs (1890-1940), The William G. Mather was an essential flagship in the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company Until 1952, aiding the metal industry of Cleveland and the surrounding area until 1980.

Feats of the Mather:

Though, the Mather wasn’t always used for such domestic construction projects. In 1941, the Allied Forces needed a steady supply of Steel; the Mather was the remedy for that, leading a convoy of 13 freighters through the icy and treacherous areas of the lake’s regions in order to make deliveries to Duluth, Minnesota. In addition, they were one of the first commercial vessels to be outfitted with a radar built right here in Cleveland in 1946, in addition to being the first American vessel to operate under an automated boiler system, which also was created by a local Cleveland company.

William’s Retirement:

In December 1987 the Rouge Steel Company, whom had bought the ship from the Cleveland-Cliffs organization, donated the weary vessel to the Great Lakes Historical Society. There it was docked in the Cleveland area and had begun to undergo a restoration effort, later opening up as a permanent museum in 1990, permanently docked at the East Ninth Street Pier.

Open from May to October, the Mather is open to people of all ages!

May, September, October

Saturdays and Sundays only


June, July, August





Seniors (65+)-$7

Youth (5-12 years)-$6

Under 5-FREE

Great Lakes Science Center members-FREE

Additional Information:

Even if tours aren’t your forte, you can still roam freely about nearly every portion of the ship, in addition to having a wonderful view of the Cleveland area and Lake Erie. It makes for a wonderful scenic walk, whether it is on deck or on the bridge of the ship itself. Also, this wonderful piece of Cleveland history is in walking distance across from the Great Lakes Science Center!


Need a bite to eat? Well look no further! The Great Lakes Science center also holds a cafeteria! While you’re there, the Science Center’s exhibits themselves could well last the rest of your day!


The images seen on this web-page were obtained from The Library of Congress

This page has been written and coded by Eric Szabo, a student at the Tri-C college.