The story of the Manitou

The date was June 13, 1970 and at 9:30 a.m., a shrill whistle sounded from the top of the pilothouse signifying a boat was leaving the pier. In the pilothouse, Capt. Everett Henry slid the two brass throttles forward and the newly-built stern loading vessel M/V Manitou was underway on her maiden voyage to Block Island from Galilee. The arrival of the Manitou on the scene signified the beginning of the end for the side loading vessels which had served the island for over a century. From that day forward the Manitou would also become “Block Island’s Winter Lifeline” as a replacement for the veteran ex steam vessel Sprigg Carroll. Yankee Magazine actually did an article in one of their 1957 issues about the Sprigg Carroll and her role as “Block Island’s Winter Lifeline.” A role that thirteen years later would be taken over by the Manitou.
Manitou was not the first vessel slated to replace the Sprigg Carroll as the winter life line for Block Island. In the late 1950’s or early 1960’s Interstate Navigation purchased the former Welfare Island steamer Welfare from New York City. She was brought to Shaw’s Cove in New London, Conn. and

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