Wrecks Mark the Spot 

Lake Erie and her wrecks


F.H. Prince. A 240-foot wooden steamer that caught fire off Kelley's Island in 1911; in shallow water, frequented by scuba students.

Marshall F. Butters. One of four ships that sank on Black Friday, October 20, 1916; the crew was saved when a steamer saw smoke blowing from the Butters's whistle.

Morning Star and Courtland. In 1868, the Morning Star, a Detroit-to-Cleveland passenger ferry, struck the Courtland, a sailing ship filled with iron ore, in the middle of the night after a Courtland crew member took a warning lantern down to clean it. Dozens of people died when both ships sank; a passing steamer picked more than 60 people out of the water.

Craftsman. A steel barge that sprang a leak while being towed to Cleveland in 1958; the Coast Guard arrived just in time to save the two crewmen. Its giant crane lies near the ship at the lake bottom.

Admiral. A tug that sank in a storm in 1942; it went down so fast that crew members were caught in their sleeping quarters. Divers found human remains inside the ship 40 years later.

Sand Merchant. 19 people died when the Sand Merchant capsized on the way from Point Pelee to Cleveland in 1936. Rumors spread among divers that the ship carried valuable cargo, but it only held sand.

Two Fannies. An old-fashioned three-masted schooner built in 1862; it sprang a leak in rough waters and sank in 1890.

Dundee. When a gale swept across the lake in 1900, the tug pulling the Dundee set it loose to fend for itself. Waves tore off the rudder and swept the cook overboard. The rest of the crew survived by clinging to the masts as the rest of the ship sank.

Cleveco. Ship-to-shore radio was new in 1942, when the Cleveco's crew reported that their tugboat, the Admiral, had disappeared in a storm, the tow line falling into the water. The Cleveco went down several hours later. Salvagers moved the ship several miles away to deeper water, where it wasn't as much of a navigational hazard.

G.P. Griffith. 230 people or more died when the Griffith caught fire in 1850 and was beached a half-mile offshore. Immigrant women died as the gold coins sewn into their dresses dragged them down below the surface. The ship's wreckage is scattered across the lake bottom.


More by Erick Trickey


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