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!

Lake Superior Wave Explosion

Lake Superior Wave Explosion

Lake Superior Wave Explosion, photo by Michigan Nature Photos

“These are not lakes. These are the world’s 8th seas, and her bottom is littered with the wreckage of over six thousand ships.”
~Rick Jones from Three Sisters by Song of the Lakes

It’s wave week on Michigan in Pictures!

Greg shot this on the evening of September 10th at Black Rocks near Marquette, MI. View it bigger, check out his Lake Superior Storms gallery and follow Michigan Nature Photos on Facebook.

Greg also has a video of these waves, some topping 15 feet, and you can venture further out in the Big Lake with this video of a freighter on Lake Superior from the Sep 10th as well.

 

 

Beach Party!

Untitled

Untitled, photo by Brooke Pennington

Michigan has miles and miles of public beaches, and our entire Great Lakes shoreline is open for walking by state law. Here’s hoping you can close out your summer with some fun in the sun!

View Brooke’s photo bigger and see more in his Summer slideshow.

Lots more Michigan beaches on Michigan in Pictures!

Rock of Ages Lighthouse is Michigan’s tallest

Rock of Ages Lighthouse

Rock of Ages Lighthouse, photo by Dave

I was looking for something on Michigan in Pictures and came across a series of “Michigan’s Tallest” posts that I did a couple of years ago. I thought it made sense to add to that list, so – according to Wikipedia’s list of the tallest lighthouse towers in the United States – measuring in at 130′ tall, Rock of Ages is Michigan’s tallest lighthouse.

It’s also the tallest lighthouse on the Great Lakes and on his Rock of Ages Light page at Seeing the Light, Terry Pepper writes (in part):

Consisting of a strip of exposed rock 50 feet wide and 210 feet long, with it highest point some sixteen feet above the water, Rock of Ages lies two and a half miles off the western end of Isle Royale. While the 205-foot wooden sidewheel steamer CUMBERLAND had been the rock’s only victim in over a half century of Superior navigation, changing navigation patterns in the final decade of the nineteenth century suddenly made Rock of Ages a critical impediment to safe navigation on the big lake.

As Duluth grew to preeminence as the lake’s major shipping port, a growing number of mariners were choosing to set a course along the northern shore during Superior’s violent storms in order to avoid the uncertain and changeable conditions of open water. With Rock of Ages lurking directly in the path of vessels choosing this course, a cry arose in the maritime community for the establishment of a Light on Rock of Ages.

…On completion, the tower stood eight stories in height, and offered relatively large and comfortable quarters for the complement of four keepers assigned to the station. A steam heating plant located in the upper cellar provided heat to cast iron radiators in all rooms, and the first deck was home to the fog signal plant and hoisting engines for the pillar crane located at the edge of the pier level. This crane was used both for raising supplies delivered by the lighthouse tenders at the wharf and for raising the keeper’s boat for storage on the safety of the pier deck. An office and common room made up the second deck, and a mess room and kitchen the third. The Keeper and First Assistant’s quarters were located on the fourth deck, with the Second and Third Assistants quarters immediately above on the Fifth deck. A service room and watch room comprised the sixth and seventh decks, leaving the huge lantern capping the structure above.

Much more at Seeing the Light including an aerial photo of this lonely location. Terry has a listing of verified tower heights for anyone who’s interested too.

About the photo, Dave writes: Photo taken from the back of Voyageur II heading into Windigo with 7 foot waves at 300mm. Yeah I almost got sea sick from taking these.

View his photo bigger and see more in his Lighthouses of Michigan slideshow.

More lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.