Superior seeks national landmark designation for SS Meteor
Officials with Superior Public Museums are working with state officials to make changes to the historic status of the city's whaleback ship, the SS Meteor. Museum officials hope the ship eventually will be formally recognized as a national histor...
Officials with Superior Public Museums are working with state officials to make changes to the historic status of the city’s whaleback ship, the SS Meteor. Museum officials hope the ship eventually will be formally recognized as a national historic landmark.
The Superior-built Meteor, launched in 1896 and now serving as a museum ship, is the only surviving whaleback ship above water in the nation, according to Sara Blanck, executive director of Superior Public Museums. Blanck said the Meteor is already listed on the state and national registers of historic places.
The Meteor “plays a part in the evolution of shipbuilding. Back when they built the whaleback in the 1890s, they didn’t yet know how to build ships like they do today. They hadn’t quite figured out that engineering, and our whaleback is a part of that evolution,” she said.
Blanck said they're making an amendment with officials at the Wisconsin Historical Society.
"Our amendment to the register is going to be reviewed ... by the Wisconsin Historical Society," she said. "We're looking forward to our review and we don't anticipate any problems with the updates to that registration."
She said the review is important because they would like to see the ship designated as a national historic landmark at the federal level. The National Park Service determines which sites are designated as national historic landmarks based on criteria that include the site's role in the development of the nation, Blanck said.
"Because of the ship's role in the development of the iron ore trade and the evolution of shipping, we believe that it meets the criteria to become a national historic landmark," she said.
If the SS Meteor does receive designation as a national historic landmark, it would be the first property listed as such in northern Wisconsin.
Existing national historic landmarks in Northeastern Minnesota include Grand Mound in Koochiching County; the Hull-Rust-Mahoning Mine in Hibbing, the Mountain Iron Mine in Mountain Iron, the Soudan Mine in Soudan and Split Rock Lighthouse on the North Shore.
Wisconsin Public Radio can be heard in the Twin Ports at 91.3 FM or online at wpr.org/news . The News Tribune contributed to this report.