Thunder Bay: A Historic Place and Shipwrecks

Thunder Bay: A Historic Place and Shipwrecks

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Great lakes

10,000 years ago, glaciers cut through the valleys in the north regions forming what would much later become The Great Lakes. As the largest freshwater system on earth, they are known for their vast area covering over 94,000 square miles, and have been the key asset to settlement in the surrounding regions. Serving as highways for migration, trade and travel the regions prospered from the abundance of natural resources. Lake superior is the worlds largest freshwater lake. It is also one of the most clear lakes in the world with an average visibility of 27ft with some regions as deep as 100ft.

ThunderBay

In the Thunder Bay, the outdoors is not simply someplace you visit, it is a way of life. The area provides quality opportunities for adventure enthusiasts of all ages and skill. With the regions history there are many great options for learning and exploring. With records of fur trade dating back as early as 1683, the Thunder bay area has a rich history of people, places, events and culture.”Trading and supply boats routinely passed Thunder Bay on their way to outposts at Mackinaw, Sault Ste. Marie, and Green Bay. In 1679, LaSalle's GRIFFON became the first major European vessel to pass by Thunder Bay, and many others were to follow”(NOAA). It is the gateway to Canada's Great outdoors.

History Transition to Shipwrecks

Due to its prime location on Lake Superior, Thunder Bay became an integral part of early trade via boats. Major vessels transporting wood, metals, and other goods were routinely passing through the area. There are many reasons as to why a ship may become inactive at sea, but one of the most common is due to collision. For a variety of these reasons, Thunder bay accumulated a large collection of shipwrecks.

In the Thunder Bay area, the collection of shipwrecks reflects the transitions in ship architecture and construction throughout history. From wooden schooners to early steel-hulled steamers, as well as several unusual vessel types. The Great Lakes actually have some of the best shipwreck diving locations in the United States for two primary reasons. The wrecks found here generally maintain their structural integrity longer than salt water ocean wrecks.

Here are some examples of the information that is documented on shipwrecks in the thunder bay area:

Vessel Name: Albany, Vessel Type: Paddle Wheeler, Hull: Wood, Built: 1846, Lost: 1853, Builder: Gager, C.L, Build Place: Detroit, Michigan, Length 202, Beam: 29, Loss Type: Stranded, Cargo: Provisions, Lives: 0, County: Presque Isle, Latitude: N45*19.

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396’, Longitude: W83*27.598’, Depth: 5.

Vessel Name: Bay City, Vessel Type: Schooner, 2 mast, Hull: Wood, Built: 1857, Lost: 1902, Builder: Tripp, Augustus, Build Place: Saginaw, Michigan, Length 146, Beam: 29, Loss Type: Collision Cargo: Light, Lives: 0, County: Alpena, Latitude: N45*03.287’, Longitude: W83*25.603’, Depth: 11.

Vessel Name: Galena, Vessel Type: Steam Barge, Hull: Wood, Built: 1857, Lost: 1872, Builder: Moses Luther, Build Place: Cleveland, Ohio, Length 190.2, Beam: 30, Loss Type: Stranded Cargo: Lumber, Lives: 0, County: Alpena, Latitude: N45*00.460’, Longitude: W83*14.990’, Depth: 16.

Vessel Name: Montana, Vessel Type: Steam Barge, Hull: Wood, Built: 1872, Lost: 1914, Builder: Muir, Alexander & Livingston, Build Place: Port Huron Michigan, Length 236.42, Beam: 36.42, Loss Type: Burned Cargo: Light, Lives: 0, County: Alpena, Latitude: N44*59.025’, Longitude: W83*16.013’, Depth: 66.

Vessel Name: Viator, Vessel Type: Ocean Vessel, Hull: Steel, Built: 1904, Lost: 1935, Builder: Stavanger, Stoberi and Dok, Build Place: Stavanger Norway, Length 231.7, Beam: 33.3, Loss Type: Collision Cargo: Pickled Herring, Lives: 0, County: Alpena, Latitude: N44*59.496’, Longitude: W83*02.277’, Depth: 188.

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