Built in Lorain, Ohio in 1917 for the Producers Steamship Company, the ship was first named LOUIS W. HILL. In 1936 it changed hands, and carried the star of National Steel Corporation on its stack. Later, under the ownership of Wilson Marine Transit, it was re-named VALLEY CAMP, in honor of the Valley Camp Coal Company.
In 1957, the VALLEY CAMP was sold to Republic Steel Corporation and sailed with this fleet until the autumn of 1966. From 1917 until it’s last voyage in 1966, the 11,500 ton ship logged some 3 million miles and carried in excess of 16 million tons of cargo. A length of 550 feet, beam of 58 feet, and depth of 31 feet, the VALLEY CAMP has a crew of 32 men. Purchased by Le Sault de Sainte Marie Historical Sites, Inc., the ship arrived at Sault Ste. Marie on July 6, 1968, during Sault Ste. Marie’s tri-centennial celebration.
By donations, grants, volunteer work, and much foresight, the Steamship VALLEY CAMP has become the most unique Maritime Museum on the Great Lakes. The museum ship VALLEY CAMP is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as an historic vessel. Visitors have the opportunity to explore and look in every nook and cranny of the great ship. In addition, the huge cargo holds have hundreds of interesting artifacts, paintings, shipwreck items, models, and exhibits of objects related to maritime history.