So Long, William A. Irvin
Duluth Skyline Missing Key Part
DULUTH, Minn.- The news is in, the William A. Irvin safely ended its journey at Fraser Shipyards in Superior at 4 am Saturday morning, after setting out the night before.
In the chill of Friday night, this longtime resident of Duluth left its home, like many of us do, to sort things out.
The move came a couple hours behind schedule. Some residents were waiting for over an hour for this big move.
“It’s just a very historic event,” said Sam McPhillips. “The ship has been here since 1986. So we just kinda want to see it go out of the harbor.”
But McPhillips’ friend, Megan, was only willing to commit so much time in the cold. After all, her, Sam and their friend Heather had UMD Marching Band practice the next morning.
When asked if they’ll stay as long as it takes to see it happen, Megan Hanson flatly replied: “Probably not.” They planned to leave around 9:30.
Around 10pm the ship finally started moving, after being delayed for a couple hours.
It was not a quick departure, at about a foot every four seconds. Crews started and stopped often to ensure safe passage.
A nerve-wracking job, given they only had 7 inches of clearance from the slip bridge on each side.
“If we weren’t nervous then that would be a bad thing,” said Chad Scott, in charge of AMI Consulting Engineers’ part of the project. “That’s overconfidence. So being nervous is good, that means we’re double checking everything. And making sure everything goes off smoothly here, so.”
All of that checking requires many workers, and much of their time.
“No I’m proud of all our guys working on the project. There’s been…phew…hundreds and hundreds of man–hours.”
Those man–hours paid off, for the crowds gathered to say goodbye. For some, it marked another life milestone. And the cold never bothered them, anyway.
“It’s my birthday tomorrow,” said Duluth East student Avery Carbart. He was happy with this early birthday present, despite the bitter air.
“I don’t know. This is, like, my weather.”
But the following day wasn’t happy for everyone. A big part of the Duluth landscape, is bare.
Lonely, lapping water left in its wake. The slip bridge’s two arms still up, waving so long to its lifelong companion.