Shipwreck Saturday: The Wreck of the Minnehaha

Taking on Water

Taking on Water, photo by Aaron Springer

“She was built in 1880 [by Linn & Craig in Gibralter, Michigan] and has been unfortunate from the start. Two years ago [in 1891] she was wrecked near Detour [at the north end of Lake Huron], and remained on the rocks all winter, being abandoned to the underwriters, who finally rescued the wreck and sold it.”
~ Buffalo Evening News Monday, October 16, 1893

Historic Arcadia Michigan tells the tale of The Wreck of the Minnehaha:

In October of 1893, the steam barge Henry J. Johnson was towing the Minnehaha from Chicago bound for Point Edward at the south end of Lake Huron with 58,000 bushels of corn. At 7:30 PM on October 13, the two ships found themselves off Point Betsie facing 90 mile per hour gale force winds. They tried to find shelter behind the Manitou Islands, but at dawn the next day, they were still south of Sleeping Bear Point fighting high winds and waves to stay out of shallow water.

Captain Benniteau of the Johnson decided to turn the ships south and head to Frankfort, the nearest refuge. However, somewhere near Frankfort high waves crashed over the Minnehaha’s deck, smashed two hatch covers, and began filling the hold with water. William Parker, captain of the Minnehaha, realizing his ship was in serious trouble, sent up distress signals, released the tow lines, and headed for the beach. There was nothing the crew of the Johnson could do but avoid the same shallow water.

The Minnehaha ran aground about a quarter of a mile offshore between Burnham and Arcadia. To avoid the waves sweeping the decks, all but one member of the crew, who drowned trying to swim to shore, climbed into the ship’s rigging. As the ship was breaking up, the captain called to the crew to grab whatever would float and go over the side anyway. But only the captain made it to shore safely. One crew member made it to a pier, but was too tired to hold onto a pole used to try to pull him to safety.

Read on for much more including photos of the Minnehaha.

Check out Aaron’s photo bigger where he also has a pic of the wreck in calm water and see many more of his great photos of Lake Michigan.

More Michigan shipwrecks on Michigan in Pictures!

Mercurial Dawn II – Five Mile Point

Mercurial Dawn II - Five Mile Point (Hiawatha National Forest - Upper Michigan)

Mercurial Dawn II – Five Mile Point, photo by Aaron C. Jors

Aaron took this shot back in September of 2011 at Five Mile Point near Christmas, MI in the Hiawatha National Forest.

View his photo bigger and see more in his Michigan slideshow. You can also view & purchase Mercurial Dawn I and some other very cool photos in the Great Lakes Shorelines section at aaroncjors.com.

PS: While I was trying to figure out just where this beautiful place is, I stumbled upon this video about Five Mile Point produced by the Great Lakes Center for Youth Development using student photos.

Shoreline Anemones

Shoreline Anemones

Shoreline Anemones, photo by Aaron Springer

Aaron got a great pic of the mid-day December sun illuminating the ice-soaked plant life at the Point Betsie Light.

View his photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

More icy goodness on Michigan in Pictures!

Driftwood detail

Driftwood with great detail on the Lake Michigan shore in Grand Haven.

Driftwood with great detail…, photo by Brad Terry

View Brad’s photo from the Lake Michigan shore in Grand Haven background big and see more in his Pier Series slideshow.

More black & white photography and more winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

High Winds & Waves on the Petoskey Pier

Petoskey Breakwater by Julie A Christiansen

High Winds & Waves, photo by Julie A Christiansen

Julie got a great shot of the waves rolling over the pier at Petoskey. View it bigger and see more in her giant-sized Michigan slideshow.

PS: Julie shared this in the Michigan Cover Photos group on Flickr, and it’s the latest cover photo on the Michigan in Pictures Facebook. Please feel free to share yours there too. If you’re a Facebooking person, you might want to become a fan of the page for bonus weekend photos and discussion about the photos featured here!

Tis the season … to Surf Michigan

Marquette MI Surf 04-12-2013

Marquette MI Surf 04-12-2013, photo by Shawn Malone/Lake Superior Photo

The Great Lakes Echo has a great WKAR Current State feature produced by April Van Buren that I encourage you to check out to get a real feel for Michigan surfing. It’s titled Can’t get to California? Surf the Great Lakes and features Bob Beaton, president of the Great Lakes Surfing Association and Joe Matulis, owner of East Lansing-based paddleboard and surfboard company Matuli.

The story of surfing the 25 foot waves at Grand Haven the night the Fitz went down is reason alone to check it out, and this 15 minute feature takes you from the birth of Michigan surfing in the 70s when they tore the masts off of sailboats and made their own boards, to the recent past when they … well … still made their own boards while learning to surf to be more employable as ocean lifeguards, and all the way up to the present day with heated wetsuits that let you surf two hours in the dead of winter without a break. Except for the winter waves because this is Michigan, so of course the best waves are found in winter!

If you’re talking about cold weather surfing, it doesn’t get much colder than Lake Superior in April! Check out Shawn’s photo bigger and get many more from this April surfing session on Lake Superior in Marquette in her Marquette MI Surf 04-12-2013 album on Facebook. Shawn also has a gallery of some long period Superior winter waves at lakesuperiorphoto.com that was featured in Surfer’s Journal.

Lots more surfing on Michigan in Pictures.

Surf’s Up in Michigan!

Surfs Up

Surf’s up, photo by Bill Dolak

Fall is surf season in Michigan, so I thought I’d share this photo and a link to a slideshow of nearly 500 photos from the Absolute Michigan photo group on Flickr.

View Bill’s photo from South Beach in South Haven background bigtacular and see more in his South Haven slideshow.

More surfing on Michigan in Pictures!

PS: I feel like I should tell you that if you aren’t a very good surfer, you should stay away from the Great Lakes in high winds and waves, particularly when the water is cold!