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Northern Michigan in Focus: Tribute to the Carl D. Bradley

Editor’s note: This story originally ran in 2020. We’re re-running it ahead of the anniversary of the sinking of the Carl D. Bradley on Nov. 18, 1958.

This story starts in the 1950s when two friends got separated and never saw each other again.

Corey Adkins shares the story in this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus.

In the small village of DeTour, just around the corner from the Drummond Island Ferry on Elizabeth and Superior streets sits a tribute from Victor Flewelling to a friend he hasn’t seen in 62 years.

Victor is 85 years old.

“I did it to pay tribute to the people a lost to lives on the boat,” said victor.

The boat he’s talking about is the Carl D. Bradley that sank on November 18, 1958.  33 men died that night. His friend, Gary Price, was one of them.

“I knew Gary Price very well. We we’re friends. We weren’t in the same grade, but we want the same school. We spent a lot of time together before he went out on the boats,” explained Victor.

Victor had enlisted in the Marines Corps in 1956. He learned of the sinking while he was away.

On New Year’s Day this year Victor went to work on a one-half scale model of the Bradley.

“It was 639 foot long and this is 26 foot 7 inches long within an eighth of an inch should be in that and I wanted to try to get it exactly to scale if I could,” said Victor.

And he did this only from pictures off the internet.

“The actual measurements were a 30 foot cargo hold, 30 foot high and 65 foot wide, and I got that 32.5 inches wide, so I got it very close.”

It has 300 lights and he even enlisted some help from his daughter in Arizona with the life rings.

“My daughter in Arizona built those out of model clay, and her daughter put the name of Bradley on each one and there are 64 on now,” explained Victor.

Victor put over 700 hours into the model before showing it to the public and he doesn’t mind if you come and see it while it’s in his yard. But he’s hoping it won’t be there long. He wants to give it away.

“I would love to have it in Rogers City for obvious reasons, but I have had several people from the U.P. that said they’d rather see a displayed up there because they want to keep it in the U.P., but I’ve had a lot of positive comments,” said Victor.

If you’re a museum or place interested in this model, email Corey at and he’ll put you in touch with Victor.


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