Aircraft carriers on the Great Lakes?
Yep, there were two during WWII. The model in the picture is of the USS Wolverine (IX-64). During the war, the Navy purchased two large side wheel excursion steamers and converted them into aircraft carriers. The ships were used to train pilots and landing signal officers on the intricacies of their crafts. The ships were based out of the Glenview Naval Air Station near Chicago.
Commissioned 2 August 1942 the Wolverine served during the war even though it had a few issues. It had no elevators or hanger deck, so once the flight deck was full the operations were over for the day. Also in low wind conditions, the ship could not generate enough speed on its own to generate the wind needed to successfully simulate the landings. Still, they served their purposes well.
On 7 November 1945, with the war over. The Wolverine was decommissioned and in December 1947 sold for scrap.
Always remember for a brief couple of years we did have aircraft carriers on the Great Lakes. If ever we had the chance to bring Canda into the fold, it may have been then…