seeing the bones of this ship on the shores of lake michigan

washed up on the camp arcadia beach

and wondering how they came to be here.

The Minnehaha, built in 1880 by Linn & Craig in Gibralter, Michigan, was a 4-masted, 200 foot, wooden schooner used to haul cargo in Great Lakes Erie, Huron, and Michigan. On October 13th 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 when facing 90 mile per hour gale force winds, the ship was lost to the sea.

“the sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope.

now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning:

we are all in the same boat.

-jacques yves cousteau


credits: maritime history of the great lakes, bowling green state university, camp arcadia

40 responses »

  1. There used to be sailboat races on Lake Michigan from south to north and back again, starting and ending in Chicago, lasting about two days. I don’t know if they still do this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The industrial progress during the years of sailing ships and steamers on those waters was expansive. But as with any growth, it came at the cost of many lives. Brave men who plied the waves with nothing more than grit and bravery found their final rest below those same waves. Great post, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good Morning, Beth! I’ve been absent lately through no fault of yours. Love this. Thank you! Years ago I moderated a Westminster Town Hall Forum with Robert Ballard, a great personal moment. They way we’re going, there’s be more washing up on the shorelines.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like an interesting story! 😁 I was born in Michigan and still have relatives there. Whenever I visit, they know to take me to the water. I love the vastness of the Great Lakes and the amazing stories that come with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There’s a great story about John Prine and Guy Clark trying to write an epic song about a sea disaster. They spent two years at it and finally gave up. Soon after they agreed to stop, Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” was released.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love this, Beth! When I look out at Lake Michigan I do think about the history and how strong and powerful it can be. It’s so odd when the surface of the lake is calm, knowing it can change at any minute. I am now thinking about the Minnehaha. Cher xo

    Liked by 2 people

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