On the northeast shore of Lake Michi- gan they say (some Indians do) that there is a drum of the Manitou that sounds whenever the Lake takes a life. If so, the Manitou's drum sounded 52 times one night last week.
On his parlor radio a code-wise listener-in in Wisconsin heard screeching buzzes: "S. O. S.S. 0. S.Water up to ' That was all. He telephoned the Coast Guard. But they heard no more signals. Next day the Milwaukee, one of the Grand Trunk R. R.'s big car ferries out of Milwaukee for Grand Haven had not reached her destination with a crew of 52. Two days later lake steamers sighted empty life boats, mattresses, the upper part of a ship's cabin. They picked up bodies strapped in lifebelts stenciled S. S. Milwaukee. Then they found the body of the Milwaukee's captain, Robert McKay, lake sailor for 35 years.
Thus the fate of the Milwaukee. Old lake sailors described how, when a car ferry is pitched by high-running combers, the freight cars break from their clamps. On the Milwaukee were 27 loaded cars. Back and forth they must have creaked and strained, bolted and battered, gaining momentum until they catapulted thunderously overboard, capsizing the careening, helpless ferry.
¶Near Detour, Mich., the ore boat William B. Pilkey, wedged helplessly on a reef, was heaved and pummeled by the storming surf of Autumn's first bad storm. Desperate Coast-Guardsmen rescued her crew of 32.
¶On a rock spur of a Lake Huron island was impaled the S. S. Maplecourt. Coast-Guardsmen, defying the walloping surf, rescued her crew of 23.
¶From Lake Superior came S. 0. S. signals. Henry Ford's lumber barge Lake Frugality and the steamer Chicago were both driven aground. Their crews clambered off unharmed. Lake Frugality's crew debarked on the mainland, but Chicago's crew of 32, less lucky, found themselves on a desolate island. Faced with starvation, seven of them straggled nine miles through a bramble-clogged swamp to an Indian settlement. The Indians peeled off their ice-caked clothing, gave them food, but stolidly refused to try to reach their derelict companions. Not until four days later, when the seas had abated, were the marooned sailors rescued by a Coast Guard cutter.
¶On the north shore of Lake Erie lay a contorted pile of scrap iron, all that was left of the freighter M. J. Nessen. The crew, twelve men, a woman, was rescued before the ship broke up. On a sandbar nearby was lodged the steel sandsucker C. M. Caldwell. A crew of 18, gambling that she would ride the storm, stayed aboard.
¶In Chicago, beaches, lakeside parks and streets were awash, strewn with rocks and wreckage. Breakwaters crumbled before the unprecedented autumnal surge. Chicagoans fled through the storm from shorefront homes and hotels. Hundreds of feet of concrete boulevards were crumpled. Waves mounting up 30 feet battered a new government lighthouse. A disrupted disposal plant poured sewage into the lake, made "city water" undrinkable.