The recent discovery of the shipwrecked wooden steamer "New York" has stirred up memories for a Traverse City woman who lost her father when his ship went down 53 years ago this month.
Kathy Firestone was 14-years-old where her father, Sterling Kenyon Nickerson went down with his ship the, "Bridgebuilder X"
37-year-old Nickerson was a husband, father of five, and the captain of the, "Bridgebuilder X."
Originally named "Pittsburgh," it was built in 1911 by American Shipbuilding, and used as a fishing boat, then later a tour boat working out of Sault Ste. Marie.
Nickerson bought the boat in 1958 and concerted it to a work ship and began hauling lumber on Lake Michigan.
Kathy says that her father's work trips were so routine that she and her brothers and sisters didn't say goodbye the day he left on his fateful trip.
"I was sitting on the couch in the living room," said Firestone. "My sister was in the living room and my dad went out the door and he came back in again to get something he'd forgotten and he went out into the kitchen I think. And my mother said to us, you'd better say goodbye to your dad and so when he went out the door we said, "Bye Dad," not knowing that would be the last time."
That last time was a trip from Wisconsin to Northport. The boat was empty and had just been repaired. Only Nickerson and his partner, Glen Roop, were on the ship.
Searches lasted for weeks and turned up nothing. Roop's body was recovered in the summer of 1960.
53 years later, Nickerson and the ship remain lost.