Lake premium is the resting ar of 350 ships, at least fifty percent of which place undiscovered come this day.

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Throughout the year of the industrial Revolution, the great Lakes detailed a key means of transportation for the valuable resources developed inland. Ships delivering iron ore, lumber, fish, and grain traversed these waters often, however when tumultuous weather hit, the outcomes were often disastrous.

Of the estimated 10,000 shipwrecks in the good Lakes region, only around 350 of lock are located in Lake Superior. That those, around 50 wrecks space presumed come be within Minnesota waters. Many of Minnesota"s shipwreck background can be found in Lake Superior.

Many wrecks have actually been located, yet at least half lay undiscovered.

In an initiative to aid in the safe navigation of the often-treacherous waters, the U.S. Lighthouse organization erected lighthouses in key locations throughout the good Lakes region. Split Rock Lighthouse was developed in response to the an excellent winter gale the November 1905 that claimed 78 lives and disabled or ruined 29 ships.

Notable wrecks of Lake Superior



May Flower, 1891

The May Flower was a great Lakes wooden scow schooner and the first shipwreck the this type documented in Minnesota"s section of Lake Superior. Built in 1887 in Sturgeon Bay, WI, the ship wrecked ~ above June 2, 1891, while moving sandstone blocks from Portage, MI, come Duluth. She capsized in heavy seas just 4 miles from the port entrance. As a two-masted scow schooner, the ship can sail on her own, but the easily accessible historical records show that she was towed by one more steam-powered vessel. Investigations have actually revealed that the May Flower had building and construction features that are different from the few other scows recognized in the lower good Lakes and also are much more similar to scows offered in new Zealand. The stays were found in 1991 and retain far-ranging archeological integrity, giving a riches of info on the construction and also use of scow schooners not just on Lake Superior, yet throughout the remainder of the great Lakes together well.


Samuel P. Ely, 1896

This single-decked, three-masted schooner barge was constructed at the J.P. Clark Shipyards close to Detroit in 1869 and also placed into Minnesota"s iron ore trade as quickly as it was fitted because that sea. ~ above Oct. 29, 1896, the Ely was captured in a violent gale and broke native a tug at 2 Harbors, MN. The ship climate blew throughout the harbor into the stone breakwater.

The Ely"s lose was observed by large numbers the the local inhabitants since of its an extremely visible location and also the lengthy duration of the event. It associated several neighborhood citizens in the role of heroes; the stories have been told and retold for generations in the small community. When two far-reaching areas of the hull experienced damage, the principal part of the hull stays intact. This part of the courage preserves the major characteristics of the 200-foot schooners designed during this time period.


Thomas Wilson, 1902

The Thomas Wilson to be a riveted-steel, solitary propeller freight-carrying steamship, released in 1892 native Lake Superior, WI. Top top June 7, 1902, the Wilson departed Duluth harbor in clean weather; through the calm waters, the hatches were not yet ordered closed. Meanwhile, the 2,073-ton wood steamer George Hadley to be inbound. Once a harbor tugboat directed the Hadley to divert to remarkable harbor, the captain that the Hadley notified an instant turn to port, failing to notification the direction the the Wilson or to blow the required whistle signals. The captain that the Wilson, concerned around the movements of the Hadley but suspicious of running aground if the turned to port, bespeak an prompt turn come starboard. The Hadley win the Wilson just forward the the aft hatch and also recoiled from the collision. The Wilson rolled over to port, climate righted itself and also began to sink by the bow. Within 3 minutes, the whole ship had actually sunk, drowning nine of the 20-man crew. Together a result of this collision, much more stringent rules were instituted in Duluth harbor to avoid this indigenous happening again. Read more about this wreck and also the brand-new harbor rules.

The destructive of the Wilson is the best-known surviving instance of the more quickly whaleback steamships, a distinctive form of an excellent Lakes mass freighter designed because that the transportation of grain, steel ore, and lumber in the so late 19th century.


Robert Wallace, 1902

20 years after the Robert Wallace was built, the wooden bulk carrier sank when hauling a cargo of iron ore the end of Superior, WI. She is a rare example of a vessel kind that connected Minnesota"s Iron selection with production centers in the eastern united States. The continues to be were not discovered until September 2006, 235 feet listed below Lake Superior"s surface. Underwater archeologists discovered plenty of well-preserved artifacts, consisting of a copper bell still attached come a wood rail and engraved through the ship"s name. The hull is separated follow me the stem yet the two sides remain reasonably intact, together is most of the stern. Additionally, the partially broken bow permitted a much more thorough check of almost all hull construction features 보다 is normally possible at other shipwreck sites.

Niagara, 1904

Built in 1872 in Detroit, the Niagara is an early example of a class of big "outside" tugboats emerged for use in the great Lakes logging industry. The evening of June 4, 1904 significant the ns of the ship at Knife Island. Coming from Duluth, the Niagara was recorded in heavy seas if battling a malfunctioning compass. While that crashed right into the rocks follow me the island"s shoreline, the 11 crewmen and also two passengers on plank were rescued just before the ship began to rest apart. Today, the stays of the Niagara rest on a rocky slope of Knife Island. The wreckage is broken into 4 main sections: the stem, the starboard side and also keel, a detached section of starboard rail and the harbor side.

Hesper, 1905

A wooden-hulled, bulk-freighter steamship, the Hesper play a far-ranging role in the great Lakes stole ore industry and also the serial trade. On might 3, 1905, the delivery was captured in a late feather snowstorm, a phenomenon solid unknown to Minnesotans. The 60-mile-an-hour northeaster drove the steamship well off its plan course and hurled the vessel ~ above a reef, which currently marks the southwest edge of silver Bay Harbor. ~ enduring a pounding for some time, the Hesper was lifted over the reef by a giant wave, only to founder and also break up in 42 feet that water. The 15-man crew, together with Captain E.H. Heaton, to be able come launch 2 lifeboats and pull away moments prior to the ship broke into pieces. The wreck has actually remained well preserved in the waters of silver Bay Harbor.

Amboy, 1905

Originally called the Helena, the Amboy was a single-decked, wooden-hulled, full-rigged three-masted schooner created especially for Minnesota"s steel ore trade. While being towed by the steamship George Spencer, both ships fell victim to the well known Mataafa Storm that Taconite harbor on November 28, 1905 when en path to Duluth.

The Duluth evening Herald of Dec. 1, 1905, defines the wreck of the two vessels:

"Both boats lost their bearings in the snowstorm and landed on a sandy beach. As shortly as lock struck, buoys with lines were thrown over the side. Once they floated ashore castle were caught by fishermen and made fast. Through an improvised life buoy rigged in the hawsers the whole crew to be taken safely come shore came before by Mrs. Take care of Lawe, mam of the mate, who was acting as steward. The vessels ran top top the rocks Tuesday morning, and also for thirteen hours the case of the crew top top the battered hulks to be desperate. Anglers rushed right into the surf practically to your necks and aided the sailors to escape. The Spencer's cargo have the right to be lightered however there is little hope for conserving the boat. The vessels were coming up there is no cargo to pack ore. Capt. Candid Conland cruised the Spencer and Fred Watson was understand of the Amboy."

George Spencer, 1905

Built in 1884, this wooden bulk freighter go down through the Amboy. It stayed slightly more intact than its counterpart, and still lies at the website of the wreck, simply off the beach and also approximately one mile from Sugar loaf Cove.

Madeira, 1905

The Madeira was an unpowered schooner-barge generally towed behind a steamship, a common practice that reduced the cost of transporting mass cargoes of stole ore, lumber and grain. One more victim that the infamous storm of November 1905, she sank top top November 28 about 3 am. ~ drifting native the William Edenborn, the helpless Madeira crashed into the shores of yellow Rock and also began break up. Together a result of Seaman Fred Benson"s heroic acts, all but one member of the crew to be saved. This shipwreck is historically far-ranging as the best and one of the couple of known surviving examples of a schooner-barge. Despite it did break into plenty of pieces, the major diagnostic facets of the hull are reasonably intact.

Benjamin Noble, 1914

The steel mass freight steamer was constructed in Michigan in 1909. The last trip of the Benjamin Noble began ominously v the words of warning native the customizeds officer to Captain Eisenhardt: "I have to not choose to ride with you, you room over-loaded." Dangerously full with stole rails, she came west v the great Lakes indigenous Ohio and also disappeared in a significant storm turn off Knife Island top top April 27, 1914. All hands were lost. Ironically, the ship had been specifically designed come withstand heavy weather. In 2004, she was discovered 365 feet down and also approximately eight miles off of Knife Island. Having hit the bottom hard, part of the courage is buried beneath a trench it developed upon impact. However, many of the ship continues to be intact and also undisturbed, including equipment such together cargo, lifeboats and a bell.

Onoko, 1915

Launched from Cleveland in 1882, the steamer Onoko to be the very first iron-hulled, iron-screw steam freighter ~ above the great Lakes. Because of its economic success it ended up being the prototype for the great Lakes mass freighter, a very big and important course of commercial ship that made feasible the cheap carry of raw products for the steel industry, consisting of iron ore, coal and also limestone. ~ above September 15, just 25 miles out of Duluth and also carrying 110,000 bushels that wheat, the Onoko developed a significant leak under the machinery. In 35 minutes, it had actually sunk in 220 feet of water. The crew of 16 and also one passenger escaped for sure in the ship’s lifeboats, and also were conveniently picked up by the conventional Oil steamship Renown and taken come Duluth. Since the ship is almost entirely unchanged, intact, and undisturbed, it continues to provide valuable shipbuilding modern technology information, evaluative data about the performance of pioneer iron ships, and insights into the needs of manning pearl in the so late 19th century.

USS Essex, 1931

The USS Essex was an equipped naval sloop built between 1874 and also 1876 at east Boston, MA, by Donald McKay. Renowned for his clipper ships, McKay was among the most significant shipbuilders in this nation"s history. The destructive is historically far-reaching as the last remaining known instance of a Donald McKay vessel. The Essex offered the U.S. Navy from 1876 come 1903. In 1904 it to be employed for training duties v the Toledo navy Militia until 1927, as soon as it was moved to the navy Reserve the the State that Minnesota. The Essex served Minnesotans for just three years prior to being stricken native the Navy list on October 27, 1930. The Essex"s sale because that scrapping ~ above December 23 significant the lose of the earliest steam-powered vessel on the marine list. The delivery was taken to the beach exterior Duluth harbor and burned on October 14, 1931.

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SS Edmund Fitzgerald, 1975

Although not in Minnesota waters, the sinking that the SS Edmund Fitzgerald is commemorated at split Rock Lighthouse as a symbol of the lives shed from all an excellent Lakes shipwrecks. When launched on June 8, 1958, the Fitzgerald to be the biggest ship on north America"s an excellent Lakes, and also is the biggest ship to have sunk there. The freighter went under in a storm on November 10, 1975, taking through her the entire crew of 29. Each year on Nov. 10, the beacon is lit at split Rock Lighthouse in honor of the crew who were lost at sea.