1995 – 25 years ago

When a Great Lakes freighter comes to the St. Joseph River harbor to unload its cargo, it’s an impressive sight. The David Z. Norton is docked at McCoy Concrete in St. Joseph. The Norton is 620 feet long and 68 feet wide. It can carry 22,000 tons of cargo, but can’t bring a full load into the Twin Cities harbor because it’s too shallow. The ship has a crew of 27. Cargo – limestone, coal or iron ore pellets – is carried in five compartments. The cargo flows to the conveyor that runs along the bottom of the hull, which carries it to a hopper. From there, the cargo goes to the 260-foot-long boom, which can deposit it on shore at a rate of 3,000 tons per hour.