I almost didn't think I would get a picture of this combination as it was supposed to be the first ship I would see down the Detroit River, so I thought I missed it. As I was heading off the island, I looked out and saw her coming down the River, so I pulled off to a spot and waited. I didn't grab my larger lens though, so I won't have any closeups.
The Pathfinder began her life as the J.L. Mauthe and was constructed in 1953 at Great Lakes Engineering in River Rouge, Michigan. She was one of the "AAA" class of freighters designed by the Pittsburgh Steamship Company but she was different in that she had a smaller deckhouse. She was used to carry iron ore from Duluth to various ports on the southern part of the Lakes.For most of her career, she remained mostly unmodified unlike many of her sisters. She was not lengthened. As the iron ore trade dwindled in the 80's, she found herself carrying grain and other loads.
By the early 90's, the grain trade started to dry up as well and the Mauthe was laid up in 1993 for what seemed like the final time.
In 1997, she was converted to a barge and renamed the Pathfinder.
In 1999, side slopes were added to her, so she could unload cargo quicker. This reduced her capacity to a little over 21,000 tons.