shipwreck

Possible shipwreck remains unearthed in Ludington

May 1, 2020
Possible Shipwreck Uncovered in Ludington
Mason County Historical Society

 

 

Many ships have disappeared on the Great Lakes, leaving their resting location a mystery.

On Friday April 24, the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association started receiving reports that unfamiliar wreckage had been exposed north of Ludington near the state park.

 


More than three centuries of thriving marine commerce and those notorious storms in the Great Lakes have given Michigan a wealth of historic shipwrecks. There are nearly a thousand on the bottomlands of the state's 13 designated underwater preserves alone. But Michigan's mostly volunteer system of protecting the shipwrecks is showing signs of trouble. 

 


Nobody ever thought they would find it: the P-39 fighter plane that Tuskegee Airman Frank Herman Moody, originally of Oklahoma, was flying over Lake Huron when he crashed.


But then, as luck or fate would have it, there was a bad storm on Lake Huron in April of that year, a barge and tug went down, and a cleanup was scheduled.


It was during this cleanup that a set of almost perfectly intact wings were found on the lake's floor.

Standing on the shores of the Great Lakes on a sunny late-summer day, it’s virtually impossible to think of those sparkling waves as a death trap.

But divers have seen what those angry lakes can do to a ship.

Becky Kagan Schott, noted underwater photographer, joined Stateside to discuss what it’s like to document these untouched wrecks.

Most people have heard of a bird or wildlife sanctuary, but fewer are familiar with sanctuaries for shipwrecks.

The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is one of only 14 national marine sanctuaries in the entire country operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and it’s situated in the northwest corner of Lake Huron, just off the shores of Alpena.

 

As the country fell into the Great Depression, the SS Senator sunk to the bottom of Lake Michigan.

Anyone with even passing knowledge of the Great Lakes knows that there are secrets beneath those waves: ships that have foundered.

Many have been found, and their locations are well known, but there are still mysteries to be unlocked.

One of the biggest dates back to a night in September 1929. The ship Andaste was headed from Grand Haven to Chicago when it vanished in a sudden storm on Lake Michigan.

Illustrated for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper in 1860

On the 40th anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, we got to thinking about how much the media has covered this particular event. With 8,000 known wrecks on the Great Lakes alone, why would this wreck be so popular? And why does it seem like our collective knowledge of maritime history starts and ends with the Edmund Fitzgerald? 

The best explanation seems to be Gordon Lightfoot and his chart-topping song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” 

 


The Coast Guard has been responding to a leaky shipwreck on the bottom of western Lake Erie.

The shipwreck is believed to be the Argo. It’s a tank barge that sank in 1937 and it’s considered the biggest pollution threat from a shipwreck in the Great Lakes.

The Coast Guard is investigating a leak from a 78-year-old tank barge in western Lake Erie that's believed to be the Argo.

It sank in a storm in 1937.

The Titanic and the Lusitania. Those ships are known around the world because of the horrific loss of life when they sank in the Atlantic.

But do we know the name Eastland?

It was 100 years ago this week when the steamer Eastland capsized at its dock in the Chicago River. 844 passengers died in that disaster and the majority of the dead were under the age of 25.

Great Lakes Exploration

The head of underwater archeology in France is still interested in a site in Michigan he visited in 2013, looking for the remains of the Griffin.

Michel L’Hour is listed as the project director in a proposal to the State of Michigan to take wooden samples from beams on the bottom of Lake Michigan. The beams, and other debris, were found off the Garden Peninsula near an area that was excavated two years ago.

U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City

Lake Michigan is dotted with shipwrecks, and many of them lay in a stretch of water off the coast of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore called the Manitou Passage. The U.S. Coast Guard recently released photographs showing what some of these shipwrecks look like from a helicopter.

Shipwreck hunter and author Ross Richardson says some of the wrecks photographed may have been previously undiscovered.


The water is exceptionally clear in Lake Michigan right now, and a Coast Guard helicopter crew used a recent routine patrol to capture striking images of some of the area's many notable sunken ships. Some of them date from the 1800s.

Photos from the flight out of the Coast Guard's Traverse City, Mich., air station show a variety of ships resting on the lake bottom, including the James McBride, a 121-foot brig that sank in 1857.

The 34th Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival will take place this Saturday at Washtenaw Community College.

Veteran shipwreck hunter David Trotter will be speaking at the event about the sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell in November 1966, and his discovery of the boat in 1979. He calls Trotter one of the state's major shipwrecks.

Great Lakes Exploration

Archeologists studying a wooden beam pulled from northern Lake Michigan this summer can't say whether it is a piece of the first European ship to sail the upper Great Lakes or a post from an old fishing net. The group managing the project is close to issuing a report to the state archeologist, but it won’t reach any firm conclusion.

Read on to discover the evidence that points to each conclusion.

It's been a mystery that has haunted Lake Huron since the Civil War: What happened to the Keystone State?

The wooden steamer set out from Detroit, bound for Milwaukee, around November 9th, 1861.

She never made it — and no one knew the Keystone State had run into trouble until wreckage washed up on the shore near Lexington.

But thanks to David Trotter, the Keystone State has been found — in nearly 175 feet of water.

Listen to the full interview above. 

CAT Scan On Possible Shipwreck Artifact Inconclusive

Aug 30, 2013

Results of an unusual CAT scan performed at the hospital in Gaylord last weekend are inconclusive. A wooden beam recovered from Lake Michigan was tested at Otsego Memorial Hospital. The goal was to find out if it could be old enough to be from the Griffin, a ship that went missing while sailing the Great Lakes in 1679. 

A doctor in Gaylord will perform a CAT scan this weekend on a 20-foot, waterlogged piece of wood. The procedure is being contracted by a group of underwater explorers hoping to uncover a famed 17th Century Great Lakes shipwreck.

Explorers are paying Otsego Memorial Hospital an undisclosed dollar amount for the procedure, which they hope will reveal enough tree rings in the timber to date it.

Divers Dig To Bedrock: The Griffin Not Found

Jun 21, 2013
David Ruck

The State of Michigan archaeologist says there does not appear to be a vessel buried where underwater explorers had hoped to uncover a 17th century shipwreck this week in northern Lake Michigan.

Explorers have been looking for the wreck of the Griffin off the coast of the Upper Peninsula’s Garden Peninsula.

State Archaeologist Dean Anderson says two things originally drew explorers to the site: acoustical surveys of what appeared to be a ship buried in mud, and a beam of wood sticking up into the water.

There have been some hiccups for underwater explorers and archaeologists this week in northern Lake Michigan hoping to identify the 17th Century ship of the famous French Explorer Robert de La Salle. But there’s good reason for optimism that his schooner, The Griffin, has been found buried in the mud in about 50 feet of water off the coast of the U.P.’s Garden Peninsula.

12:00 am

UPDATE: The artifact recovered by Great Lakes Exploration Group was a block of wood a little more than a foot in length. It appeared to have been hewn on at least one side and was blackened evenly on all sides, almost like wood charred in a fire. Archeologists on the dive had little to say about the object. They will continue to focus their efforts around the beam of wood that was originally found protruding from the bottom of the lake.

6:00 pm

12:00 am

UPDATE: The artifact recovered by Great Lakes Exploration Group was a block of wood a little more than a foot in length. It appeared to have been hewn on at least one side and was blackened evenly on all sides, almost like wood charred in a fire. Archeologists on the dive had little to say about the object. They will continue to focus their efforts around the beam of wood that was originally found protruding from the bottom of the lake.

6:00 pm

A doctor in Gaylord will perform a CAT scan this weekend on a 20-foot, waterlogged piece of wood. The procedure is being contracted by a group of underwater explorers hoping to uncover a famed 17th Century Great Lakes shipwreck.

Explorers are paying Otsego Memorial Hospital an undisclosed dollar amount for the procedure, which they hope will reveal enough tree rings in the timber to date it.

UPDATED 6/4/2013 with corrected length of legal dispute.

The State of Michigan has issued a permit for a major archeological dig in Lake Michigan. It could uncover the oldest shipwreck in the Great Lakes.

Underwater explorers have been given the go-ahead to dig up bottomlands off the coast of the Garden Peninsula near Green Bay. They’re in search of the French fur trading ship Le Griffon, which went down in 1679.

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