History | October 30, 2021 6:31 am

Researchers Discovered Multiple Shipwrecks in Lake Superior This Year

Including three 19th-century ships

Lake Superior
Lake Superior hides many a secret.
Andrew Ling/Unsplash

When one thinks of the Great Lakes, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? It might be recreation or transportation; it could be the sight of the ferry system that conveys some people around Michigan. (And that’s to say nothing of the deep cut they might bring to mind for longtime Marvel Comics readers.) But the lakes’ history also includes having played a part in conflicts — including being the site of battles during the War of 1812.

When you have a history of conflict and turbulence happening around a large body of water, you’re likely to end up with the remains of ships located below the surface of that selfsame water. And indeed, researchers exploring Lake Superior have discovered no less than three shipwrecks — and possibly more — over the course of this year.

Writing at Smithsonian Magazine, Nora McGreevy has more information on the discoveries. This includes the wreck of the Frank W. Wheeler, which sank in 1885, as well as the Dot and the Michigan — both vessels that were being towed by the same ship 18 years apart when they sank.

The research was being conducted by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society. The group’s executive director, Bruce Lynn, said in an interview that “we have never located so many new wrecks in one season.” The organization made use of a remotely operated underwater vehicle as well as a research vessel that spent the summer exploring the bottom of the lake. According to the article, the ship’s work included finding still more shipwrecks that await verification — another element in the lake’s long history.