Three New Shipwrecks From The 1800s Found in Lake Superior Near Grand Marais
It is estimated that there are about 550 shipwrecks in Lake Superior, most of which are undiscovered. Well, you can scratch a few more off that list as the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society recently discovered three 1800’s-era shipwrecks in Lake Superior near Grand Marais, Michigan.
Members of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society’s Underwater Research team used a combination of historical research and modern technology to map areas where certain ships were reported lost, then they searched those areas using their 50’ research vessel. Side-scan sonar was employed to analyze the lake bottom to help identify the three wrecks that were announced earlier this week.
Keep in mind that they also located a number of additional shipwrecks but can't make any announcements until they've been properly identified.
Below is information on the three schooners that were found including - The Dot, The Frank W. Wheeler and The Michigan, courtesy of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society.
Shipwreck 1: The schooner, Dot
August 25, 1883- The steamship M.M. Drake was towing the schooner Dot, downbound from Marquette with a load of iron ore when the Dot started taking on water. The Captain Jones of the Dot, hailed the M.M. Drake, which came alongside his sinking ship and took his crew off before it dove for the bottom. The entire crew was rescued and her remains rest in over 350’ of water.
Shipwreck 2: The schooner-barge, Frank W. Wheeler
September 29, 1885- The Frank W. Wheeler, was being towed by the steamer Kittie M. Forbes when a gale swept across the lake. The ships struggled in brutal conditions for hours and soon the Wheeler’s crew realized that their ship was sinking. Captain William Forbes, owner and captain of the Frank W. Wheeler, signaled his predicament to the Kittie M. Forbes, and the pair of vessels then tried to reach the safety of Grand Island, near present-day Munising, MI. Captain Forbes soon ordered his men into the lifeboat, and 15 minutes later his ship sank, bow first. The wreckage lies in over 600’ of water.
Shipwreck 3: The Schooner Barge, Michigan
October 2, 1901- The steamer M.M. Drake (same vessel which towed the Dot, as noted above) was towing the schooner-barge Michigan in the vicinity of Vermilion Point, 12 miles west of Whitefish Point. Both vessels were struggling in rough weather when suddenly the Michigan’s hold begins filling with water. Captain J.W. Nicholson maneuvered the M.M. Drake alongside the Michigan, with the latter ship’s crew jumping from their sinking ship onto the Drake. Within minutes, a massive wave smashes the two vessels together, destroying the M.M. Drake’s smokestack, leaving the ship without steam-pressure. Without power, the Drake soon lost headway and waves swept over her decks. Both ship’s crews were now in danger, but two large steel steamers, the Crescent City and Northern Wave, were close by and maneuvered in to rescue both crews. Mr. Harry Brown, the Michigan’s cook, was the only casualty in this unusual double sinking. The Michigan’s hull is in 650’ of water.
The GLSHS searches roughly 100 miles of water every day, I'm sure there will be more discoveries to be made.