Irvin Leaves, Leaving Empty Space In Duluth

Crowds Gather To Say Goodbye to Symbol of Duluth

DULUTH, Minn.- A longstanding staple of Duluth is leaving home for the first time in 30 years.

The William A. Irvin is getting some cleaning and some work done at Fraser Shipyards in Superior.

Crews began moving the ship at about 10:30 Friday night. This came after an hour and a half delay from the time they projected, due to a longer than expected time preparing equipment.

Sitting in the Minnesota Slip since 1986, the ship museum was actually there before the bridge was built. So prior to Friday, it has never moved through the bridge, either.

Therefore, crews stuck to a 1 foot per hour speed. This is to ensure the boat can be stopped if anything goes awry.

There is room for such a mistake. Or rather, a lack of room.

The ship has a narrow 7 in. of space from the slip wall on either side. Which means guidance out of that area is a team effort for the crews.

“Use the DECC side of the wall as a guide wall out the slip,” said Chad Scott with AMI Consulting Engineers, one of the companies at the helm of the project. “Once it gets through the entrance there will also be additional barges that will be anchored out into the harbor that will act as additional guide walls to keep the vessel straight as it goes out through the Minnesota slip opening.”

Meanwhile, the town showed up in droves to say goodbye. Hundreds, some in blankets, some in pajamas, lined the bridge behind Bellisio’s restaurant in Canal Park. Some ended up waiting over two hours.

But, they said it was worth it to bid farewell to a legendary member of the community.

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