For more than 30 years, researchers have been exploring the depths of Lake Superior in search of vessels lost to time. The area off the coast of Grand Marais, Michigan, known as the “Graveyard of the Great Lakes” is home to around 200 known shipwrecks. One of the greatest mysteries of the lake has been the disappearance of the Edward Hines Lumber Company’s fleet, which sank in a surprise storm on November 18, 1914.
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society announced last week that they had found two of the three boats from the fleet during exploratory missions with their research vessel. The steamboat C.F. Curtis and the schooner Selden E. Marvin were located about 500 and 600 feet below the surface, respectively, and about 25 miles off the shore of Grand Marais. The museum hopes to find the third boat, the Annie M. Peterson, soon.
The Curtis and the Marvin were part of the Hines fleet, the largest lumber fleet on the Great Lakes at the time, and were en route to Tonawanda, New York with enough lumber to build 1,200 houses. The boats were found in an area known for shipping congestion and bad weather, and the museum researchers believe the storm snapped the tow line between the Curtis and the Marvin.
The researchers were able to see history in granular detail, including axes to cut lines, a hand-cranked grinding wheel, a piece of a shirt around rope, and tow ropes that clearly snapped. They hope to find relatives of those who were lost at sea, and to keep the memory alive of the ships and the sailors who were onboard. The museum’s research boat will revisit the area this summer in search of the Peterson.
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