Researchers find remains of 3 wrecked vessels in Lake Superior


Courtesy: Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society

WHITEFISH POINT, Mich. (WJMN) — Three shipwrecks were recently discovered near the area of Grand Marais in Lake Superior, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society announced Monday.

GLSHS used its 50-foot research vessel to track and map the areas where ships were reported lost. A side-scanning sonar called Marine Sonic Technology was used to look at the lake bottom and identify the submerged wrecks.

The three shipwrecks in which the vessels have been identified are from the 1800s. A number of other shipwrecks have also been located and are awaiting identification.

The new shipwreck discoveries and their stories according to the GLSHS can be found below:


The Schooner, Dot: Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society

The Dot was lost on Aug. 25, 1883. It was being towed by the steamship M.M. Drake out of Marquette carrying iron ore when it started taking on water. The Drake rescued the crew of the Dot before it went down.

The Dot not sits more than 350 feet deep in the lake.


Schooner Frank Wheeler: Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society

The Frank W. Wheeler wrecked Sept. 29, 1885, during a gale. As his vessel began to sign, the captain of the Wheeler tried to first reach the safety of Grand Island near Munising before ultimately ordering his crew to abandon ship. Within 15 minutes, the schooner-barge was under water. Thew crew reported hearing explosions as it sank. They were picked up by the steamer Kitte M. Forbes, which was towing the Wheeler.


The Schooner Barge, Michigan: Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society

What is left of the Michigan sits about 650 feet deep in the area of Vermilion Point near Whitefish Point.

During poor weather on Oct. 2, 1901, the Michigan’s hold started taking on water during poor weather. Crew members jumped ship to the deck of the steamer that was towing the Michigan, the M.M. Drake — the same steamer that was towing the Dot when it sank two decades earlier. Huge waves then caused the Michigan and the Drake to collide. The Drake’s smokestack was destroyed and it started taking on water. Two other steamers, the Crescent City and the Northern Wave, rushed to the rescue. As the Drake sank, the only person killed was the Michigan’s cook, Harry Brown.

The remains of the M.M. Drake were found in 1978. The vessel’s rudder can now be seen at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point.

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