US Lighthouse Tender CLOVER Seeing The Light

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The vessel that would end up serving as the lighthouse tender CLOVER was originally built for a private owner by Burger and Burger Shipbuilders in Manitowoc Wisconsin in 1899.

Click to view enlarged imageHer oak hull was 88' in overall length and 80' 2" at the waterline. With a beam of 22' 10", she drew a maximum of 6' 4" and had a maximum displacement of 205 tons. Her single screw was powered by coal-fired, high pressure, non condensing boiler steam engine which generated 100 brake horsepower. She was named TWO MYTLES after the owners wife and daughter, who both shared the same name.

Needing a supply vessel to assist in the construction of the White Shoal lighthouse, she was purchased by the United States Lighthouse Board in late 1907, in which capacity  she operated out of the Ninth District depot in Milwaukee. At this point, she retained her original name.

After completion of construction at White Shoal at the end of the 1910 navigation season, she was fairly worn from repeated building materials and supplies trips up the lake, and with her services not immediately needed in the district, she was laid-up at Milwaukee for two years.

In 1912, the Eleventh District, which was responsible for the lights on lakes Huron and Superior, had need of an additional general service tender, and so the decision was made to refit TWO MYRTLES, since the cost of doing so could be accomplished out of the general fund, and would not require the specific appropriation whish would be needed for the construction of a new vessel.

Click to view enlarged imageIn early 1913, she steamed to Manitowoc where she was fitted with new boilers and engines, her superstructure was significantly reconfigured and she was fitted with an improved boom and hoisting apparatus. In conformance with the Lighthouse Service's standard practice of naming their vessels after flowers and trees, she was renamed CLOVER, and delivered to the Eleventh District depot in Detroit on December 5, 1913.

At different times over the ensuing years, CLOVER both served out of Detroit and Saulte Ste Marie, where she conducted general duty on the St. Mary's river. After 35 years of service, she was again rebuilt and refitted in 1932, at which time her length was increased to 93 feet.

With the commissioning of the new first-class tender TAMARACK in 1934, CLOVER's services were no longer needed in the district, and she was decommissioned and sold into private ownership in 1935. Her new owners renamed her SS TWO MYRTLES, and continued to operate her as a private freighter until 1947 when she was abandoned due to old age.

Crew members of this vessel

Click here to see a complete listing of all crew members assigned to the CLOVER  compiled by Phyllis L. Tag of Great Lakes Lighthouse Research.


Annual reports of the Lighthouse Board, various, 1891-1914
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Vol. I, Part A
Crew member listings for this vessel appear courtesy of Great Lakes Lighthouse Research

Terry Pepper. This page last updated 12/02/2007