Monday, October 14, 2013

Lake County Mini-Profiles -- Dwight Boyer, Reporter & Marine Historian

Born in 1912 in Elyria on the far west side of Cleveland, Dwight Boyer resided in Lake County in Willoughby for more than three decades.  Boyer began his notable journalism career as a reporter for the Toledo Blade from 1944-54.  From '54 thru the time of his death in '78, he was a featured reporter and editor for The Plain Dealer.  Boyer's passion for marine history elevated his journalistic accomplishments.  This is his story.

Boyer's love of freighters and the Great Lakes led him to write numerous articles and five narrative books of life aboard Great Lakes freighters.  Combining his connections with primary sources in the maritime industry and the events from the great storms of the lakes past, he specialized in constructing conjectural tales for vessels whose disappearance garnered the imaginations of the public eye.  Three stories that merit mention are the 1927 disappearance of the SS Kamloops, the 1929 foundering of the SS Milwaukee, and the infamous story of the 1975 loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  These stories and others comprise the five books he published from 1966-1977.  Their names and year of publication  appear below.

Dwight Boyer was also a member of the Fairport Harbor Historical Society, whose mission is to preserve Fairport history and the maritime sentiment of the Great Lakes area.  He was able to add to the museum's legacy when in late '67 he helped arrange for the acquisition of the pilothouse from the freighter Frontenac.  The Frontenac was a Great Lakes freighter built in 1923 and 600' in length.  She had a storied career on the Great Lakes until 1979 for Cleveland Cliffs.  At the time of her acquisition, she was the last wooden pilothouse on the Lakes.  The pilothouse sits attached to the 1825-1925 lighthouse in Fairport Harbor and is a part of this unique museum collection.  The pilothouse is appointed in true fashion to its 1967 setting.  The Frontenac and marine museum offer lighthouse visitors and lovers of maritime history a detailed insight in the history of the Great Lakes, freighters, and Lake Erie commerce itself.  The lighthouse and museum are open May-October and by appointment.

Dwight Boyer's books about the Great Lakes:
Ghost Stories of the Great Lakes, 1966
Ghost Ships of the Great Lakes, 1968
True Tales of the Great Lakes, 1971
Strange Adventures of the Great Lakes, 1974
Ships and Men of the Great Lakes, 1977

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