Great Lakes News

Great Lakes News

Edmund Fitzgerald Model Ship Spotlights Namesake


We've all heard about the Edmund Fitzgerald one way or another: learning about the vessel in history lessons at school; while drinking the Great Lakes Brewing Company beer aptly named The Edmund Fitzgerald Porter;  or by listening to the Gordon Lightfoot song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." 

In 1958, when the 729-foot vessel hit the water, it was regarded as the largest ship on the Great Lakes. The ship used its size and power to haul iron ore mined in Minnesota to the Midwest. In 1975, the ship tragically sunk, along with all 29 crew members aboard, plunging to the bottom of Lake Superior. We're all aware of the shipwreck, but we know very little about the man the boat was named after. 

But the legacy of the Edmund Fitzgerald namesake lives on. On April 12, at Milwaukee's Central Library, a model ship that was a heirloom of the Fitzgerald family was donated to Wisconsin Marine Historical Society's Great Lakes Marine Collection and was unveiled to the public, according to an article by the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. This is fitting because Edmund Fitzgerald was actually the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society's first president, the article stated. 

"A lot of people don't think of the man, they think of the ship," Peter Hirthe, president of the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society, said in the article. "This unveiling is to spotlight the man."

Photo courtesy of UpNorth Memories - Donald (Don) Harrison