Michigan Man Builds Amazing Mini Edmund Fitzgerald with Duct Tape
Oh, the things people can do with a little duct tape and imagination.
On Michigan's Reddit thread, a user posted a series of photos showing a perfect replica created by her father of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The incredible part? It's made entirely of poster board and duct tape:
If you need a comparison, you can see a few images behind the lyrics to the song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald inspired by this infamous disaster:
Remind Me of the Story Behind the Edmund Fitzgerald
If you're not familiar with the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald, here's a brief synopsis.
In November of 1975, the Edmund Fitzgerald was transporting over 26,000 pounds of iron ore from Wisconsin to the Detroit area. The journey seemed to be going to plan until the Fitzgerald encountered a storm that produced hurricane-force winds and waves that reached a reported 12 to 35 feet.
It's said that the Fitzgerald sunk suddenly with no distress signals sent a mere 17 miles from her destination, Whitefish Bay. Prior to her sinking, Captain Ernest McSorely was able to send a few communications that read, "I have a bad list, lost both radars. And am taking heavy seas over the deck. One of the worst seas I've ever been in." And, "We are holding our own."
The ship, unfortunately, was not able to hold its own. The ship went down taking the entire 29 person crew with her.
Since then, the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald has become one of if not the most famous shipwrecks that occurred in the Great Lakes. Despite multiple diving expeditions, the specific cause of the sinking remains a mystery.
Speaking with the replica's creator, Mark, he said creating these models of ships has become a kind of tradition. It was a way to keep the kids busy and now, just to have something to do during the chilly winter months. Last year, he created a similar replica of the Titanic.
The replica Fitzgerald will meet the same fate as the original except in the safety of a pool instead of the Great Lakes. Mark will drill a few precise holes, weigh her down with some marbles, and down she'll go.
A bit shocked to learn that all of this work went into creating something that would just be sunk in a pool, I asked Mark how long it took him to construct the Fitzgerald replica. Amazingly, he said it took him just a couple of hours.
He continued saying,
I had lots of practice when the kids were growing up. You know, the projects that they suddenly remembered the night before it was due.
Guilty. I definitely put my parents through that a couple of times as a kid.
So, why replicas of boats? Well, Mark shared that he's always been interested in all things maritime. In fact, he provided illustrations for a book titled Mail by the Pail, a story based in Manistee where a young girl, Mary, wants to send her father a letter for his birthday. But, the letter has to be delivered by pail.
If you're unaware, this is how freighters actually receive their mail. By pail. Read more here.
A big thank you to Mark and his daughter, Crystal, for taking the time to talk with me, share your stories, and the pictures of this incredible replica! Maybe, come springtime when we're all thawing out, we'll be able to see video of the sinking of the smaller version of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
You can see footage of the actual Fitzgerald, still at the bottom of the Great Lakes, along with audio of radio chatter from the Fitzgerald before she went down below:
Love history? Check out these civil war era buttons that were, bizarrely, found at an old paper mill in Michigan: