Great Lakes News

Great Lakes News

115-Year-Old Shipwreck Discovered in Lake Superior


In 1899, the 199-foot, three-masted schooner, Nelson, sailed head-on into a spring gale, tragically claiming the lives of nine passengers.

Recently, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS) located the burial site for Nelson on the bottom of Lake Superior near Grand Marais, Michigan. According to the museum, the steamer Folsom was towing the Nelson when the boats encountered rough water and the towline snapped, causing Nelson to sink.

The sole survivor of the shipwreck was Captain Hagginey, who jumped from the boat after loading up the crew and his family onto a lifeboat. The lifeboat was sadly dragged under water along with Nelson.

“This is a shipwreck that we’ve wanted to find for a very long time”, says GLSHS director of marine operations Darryl Ertel.

GLSHS found the ship using a combination of historical research and technology, after having mapped areas where ships were reported lost. They then searched those areas using the society’s 50-foot research vessel. The ship was positively identified after examination from GLSHS volunteer technical divers and the society’s remotely operated vehicle.

Nelson currently lies in more than 200 feet of water and is “amazingly intact,” according to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.

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Photo courtesy of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum

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