Day: October 27, 2014

Passengers, Packages, and Copper: The Steamer Pewabic, Its Archaeology, Management, Material Culture and the Development of the Keweenaw Peninsula

steamer bon voyage
The S.S. Bon Voyage, a passenger steamer ship similar to the Pewabic. (Photo courtesy of the Keweenaw Digital Archives)


Please join us for visiting scholar Philip Hartmeyer at 4:00 pm on Thursday, November 6 in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Technological University campus. This event is free of charge and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

In this presentation, Hartmeyer will examine the passenger/package freighter Pewabic and speak to the multiple roles it played in the development of the Keweenaw and its copper industry. The hybrid steamer was a popular vessel to bring downstate tourists to the Copper Country and it also filled its hold with native copper on return trips, an important component of the Detroit mineral market. Pewabic embodies the mid-nineteenth century Great Lakes economic and cultural zeitgeist, having tapped into two profitable enterprises. Historical sources and underwater archaeological data will be used to unearth the identities of Pewabic afloat as well as the new identities it has adopted as an archaeological site, mass grave site, and salvage training ground.

Philip Hartmeyer is a maritime archaeologist currently working at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena, Michigan. Originally from San Francisco, California, Hartmeyer’s passion for maritime heritage has taken him all over the world to conduct surveys and excavations of shipwrecks. He received his masters in maritime archaeology from East Carolina University, where he wrote his thesis on the passenger/package propeller Pewabic, a middle 19th-century vessel that was instrumental to the copper industry and the settlement of the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Hartmeyer’s research visit and presentation are supported by a travel grant from the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1988, the Michigan Technological University Archives Travel Grant program has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives.

For more information, feel free to call the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505, email at, or visit on the web at