I came across this photo at a local antique store last week. There is nothing to ID the date by, but I would guesstimate late 1950’s – early 1960’s.
According to the Boatnerd Bible, she was built in 1949 by the American Shipbuilding Co. at Lorain, Ohio. At only 678 ft., she’s not one of the biggest ships, and was converted to a self unloader in 1975. So the old photo above was taken sometime between 1950 and 1969. I believe the Windsor building in the foreground is the old Ford Plant 1 along the river. It was demolished in 1969.
The on-line source for all things boat related http://boatnerd.com/, has this to say about the Sykes:
Built by American Shipbuilding Co., Lorain, OH in 1949 for Inland Steel Co., the streamlined bulk freighter Wilfred Sykes was the first new American-built Great Lakes vessel constructed after World War II. At the time of her launch, she was the largest vessel on the Great Lakes. The Sykes is powered by 2 steam turbine engines producing a combined 7,000 horsepower driving an 18 1/2 foot diameter four-blade propeller giving her a speed of up to 16 mph. Being the first steamship built to burn “bunker C” heavy oil for fuel instead of coal, her fuel tanks can hold 165,000 gallons giving her a cruising range of 4,500 miles. She is also equipped with a bow thruster.