Lake Superior Shipwrecks


When you think of shipwrecks on Lake Superior, your first thought may be the SS Edmund Fitzgerald. However, Lake County and Lake Superior carry a deeper history.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Great Lakes (Lake Superior in particular) were very dangerous to sail on. Here are several of the biggest wrecks to take place on Lake Superior.

The Samuel P. Ely, 1986

The ship was en route from Kelley’s Island, Ohio, to Duluth, Minnesota, in 1896. During its voyage, the Samuel P. Ely set out to reach Two Harbors, MN, where it was met with high winds, and the crew struggled to make it into the harbor. Due to the strong winds, the anchors could not hold the Samuel P. Ely in place, and the ship collided with the break wall and proceeded to sink in the early morning hours.

The SS Bannockburn

Due to snowy weather, the steamship went missing on November 20th, 1902. Before the vessel’s disappearance, the SS Bannockburn sunk once before in 1897 after colliding with a canal wall. The last time the ship was seen was around the vessel Algonquin roughly 40 miles east of Isle Royale in Lake Superior. Due to an overwhelming amount of fog, the Algonquin lost sight of the SS Bannockburn and was never seen again.  After this disappearance, the SS Bannockburn became known as “The Flying Dutchman of the Great Lakes.”

SS Edmund Fitzgerald

The most notorious shipwreck to happen on Lake Superior was the sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald. On November 10, 1975, the largest ship on the Great Lakes sank to the bottom of Lake Superior, putting an end to the 17-year lifespan of the vessel. The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was found 4 days after sinking on November 14th, 1975. Nearly 45 years after the wreck, references to the vessel can be found throughout the North Shore.

the ss edmund fitzgerald

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