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JOHN PURVES
Pictured as: the John Purves (Door County Maritime Museum) Photo by: Unknown

Built in 1919, by the Bethlehem Steel Company of Elizabethport, New Jersey (hull #2130) as the Butterfield for the United States Shipping Board.

The tug began her service life as a temporary floating radio station for the United States Navy in the Caribbean Sea.

In 1922, the tug was acquired the Newaygo Tug Line of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Where she retained her name.

In 1937, she was acquired by Consolidated Water Power and Paper Company of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. Where the tug retained her name

In 1942, the tug was requisitioned by the United States Army. Where she was designated as the LT-145.

In 1945, she was acquired by Consolidated Water Power and Paper Company of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. Where the tug was renamed as the Butterfield.

In 1957, the tug was acquired by the Roen Steamship Company of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Where the tug initially retained her name. However, later in 1957. The company converted the tug to a twin screw configuration. Upon completion of the conversion, she was renamed as the John Purves.

In 1974, she was acquired by Eder Barge and Towing Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Where the tug retained her name.

In 1978, the tug was acquired by the Bultema Dock and Dredge Company of Muskegon, Michigan. Where the tug retained her name.

In 1981, she was acquired by the Canonie Transportation Company of Muskegon, Michigan. Where the tug retained her name.

In 1988, she was acquired by Andrie Incorporated of Muskegon, Michigan. Where the tug retained her name.

In 2003, Andrie Incorporated donated the vessel to the Door County Maritime Museum Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Where the tug was restored, painted in the Roen Steamship Company colors, and outfitted to accommodate visitors.

Originally powered by a triple recipricating steam engine. In 1957, the tug was repowered and converted to a twin screw configuration. With two EMD 12-567AS diesel engines.
(Birk Thomas)


  • Vessel Name: JOHN PURVES
  • USCG Doc. No.: 0218244
  • Vessel Service: TOWING VESSEL
  • IMO Number: 06507438
  • Trade Indicator: Coastwise Unrestricted
  • Call Sign: WA3197
  • Hull Material: STEEL
  • Hull Number: 2130
  • Ship Builder: Bethlehem Steel Company
  • Year Built: 1919
  • Length: 142
  • Hailing Port: MUSKEGON, MI.
  • Hull Depth: 14.8
  • Hull Breadth: 27.7
  • Gross Tonnage: 436
  • Net Tonnage: 296
  • Owner:
    Door County Maritime Museum
    120 North Madison Avenue
    Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
  • Previous Vessel Names:
    Butterfield, LT 145 1942, Butterfield, JOHN PURVES
  • Previous Vessel Owners:
    U.S. Shipping Board, Newaygo Tug Line, Consolidated Water Power and Paper Co., United States Army, Eder Barge and Towing Company, Roen Steamship Company, Bultema Dock and Dredge Co., Canonie Transportation Co., Andrie Inc.