On the Water

Ship Model, SS Frisia

This model is a cutaway of the German steamship Frisia. Originally launched as the Alsatia, the Frisia was a transatlantic passenger ship, with room for 820 passengers. Built in 1872 by Caird & Co. in Scotland, Frisia was owned by the Hamburg-American Line. Rigged for both sail and steam power, the Frisia could make the Atlantic crossing in about 12 days.

Many of the passengers who traveled aboard the Frisia were immigrants bound for America. In 1876, a group of some 70 Russian immigrants boarded the Frisia in Hamburg, Germany. Originally from Kratzke, a city in Russia near the Volga River, these men, women, and children left their homes with hopes of owning farmland in the United States. Upon arriving in New York, the Kratzke immigrants traveled west and settled in Russell County, Kansas, in October 1876. Although life was hard on the prairie, most immigrants did not return to their homeland. More Russian immigrants arrived in December 1876, and together they founded the Bender Hill community in Kansas.

The Frisia was one of the last iron steamships of its era. Shortly afterwards, steel-hulled ships became standard. Following its run as an immigrant ship, the Frisia was renamed and sold to Italian owners who converted it into a coal carrier. In 1902, the SS Frisia, then known as the Arno, was scrapped in Italy.

ID Number:
Place Made:
Germany: Hamburg
fabric, wood, metal
ca 1975
39 x 90 x 9 in.; 99.06 x 228.6 x 22.86 cm

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