Saluting the BUFFALO with steam whistles from the BUCKEYE

Whistles on the Water

A Steam Whistle Event

September 28, 2019

9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Palmer Park, St. Clair, Michigan

(On the banks of the St. Clair River and the United States/Canada border)


During the 19th century steamships ruled the Great Lakes.  Often a ship was identified by the uniqueness of its steam whistle.  Ship captains would tune their steam whistle to create a unique sound so that their ship could be identified before it could be seen.  While this custom seems quant to us today, it was very helpful to captains of the Great Lakes in identifying nearby ships in the fog and letting people on shore know which ship was passing by.

When the Great Lakes shipping fleet switched from steam to diesel engines, this unique characteristic of the Great Lakes disappeared.

Whistles on the Water recreates the time when steamships were the “Royalty” of the Great Lakes.

Museums and collectors are invited to bring their steam whistles to Whistles on the Water.  All whistles deemed safe are blown.

Additional information: Al Johnson, Telephone: 810-329-6681,

Whistles on the Water 2019 Registration Form
2019 Whistles on the Water Brochure

March 2019 Press Release
2019 Featured Freighter Whistle WILLIAM H. DONNER

September 2019 interview on CTV’s Focus program.