The Great Lakes -- Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario -- and their connecting channels form the largest fresh surface water system on earth. If you stood on the moon, you could see the lakes and recognize the familiar wolf head shape of Lake Superior, or the mitten bounded by lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie. Covering more than 94,000 square miles and draining more than twice as much land, these Freshwater Seas hold an estimated 6 quadrillion gallons of water, about one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water supply and nine-tenths of the U.S. supply. Spread evenly across the contiguous 48 states, the lakes' water would be about 9.5 feet deep. The channels that connect the Great Lakes are an important part of the system. The St. Marys River is the northernmost of these, a 60-mile waterway flowing from Lake Superior down to Lake Huron. At the St. Marys rapids, the Soo Locks bypass the rough waters, providing safe transport for ships. The St. Clair and Detroit rivers, and Lake St. Clair between them, form an 89-mile long channel connecting Lake Huron with Lake Erie. The 35-mile Niagara River links lakes Erie and Ontario, and sends approximately 50,000 to 100,000 cubic feet of water per second over Niagara Falls; the manmade Welland Canal also links the two lakes, providing a detour around the falls. From Lake Ontario, the water from the Great Lakes flows through the St. Lawrence River all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, about 1,000 miles away.
This system greatly affects our way of life, as well as all aspects of the natural environment, from weather and climate, to wildlife and habitat. Yet for all their size and power, the Great Lakes are fragile. In the past, this fragile nature wasn't recognized, and the lakes were mistreated for economic gain, placing the ecosystem under tremendous stress from our activities. Today, we understand that our health and our children's inheritance depend on our collective efforts to wisely manage our complex ecosystem.
Lake Superioris the largest of the Great Lakes in surface area and volume. In fact, Superior has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in the world. The lake stretches 350 miles from west to east and 160 miles north to south. Its shoreline is nearly 2,800 miles long. Superior is also the coldest and deepest of the five Great Lakes. Average depths are close to 500 feet; the deepest point in the lake reaches 1,332 feet.
Lake Michigan, ranked second largest of the Great Lakes according to volume, is the only Great Lake entirely within the United States. Averaging 279 feet deep, the lake reaches 925 feet at its deepest point. Lake Michigan is approximately 118 miles wide and 307 miles long and boasts more than 1,600 miles of shoreline, including many sandy beaches.
Lake Huron is the third largest of the Great Lakes by volume, holding nearly 850 cubic miles of water. The shores of Huron extend more than 3,800 miles and are characterized by shallow, sandy beaches and the rocky coasts of Georgian Bay. Lake Huron is 206 miles wide and approximately 183 miles from north to south. Home to many ship wrecks, the lake averages a depth of 195 feet.
Lake Erieis the shallowest of the Great Lakes (averaging only 62 feet) and overall the smallest by volume. Erie is also exposed to the greatest effects from urbanization and agriculture. Lake Erie measures 241 miles wide and 57 miles from north to south, and has 871 miles of shoreline. Because it's not as deep as the other lakes, Erie warms rapidly in the spring and summer and is frequently the only Great Lake to freeze over in winter.
Lake Ontario,the 14th largest lake in the world, is the smallest of the Great Lakes in surface area. It ranks fourth among the Great Lakes in maximum depth, but its average depth is second only to Lake Superior. Lake Ontario lies 325 ft (99 m) below Lake Erie, at the base of Niagara Falls. The falls were always an obstacle to navigation into the upper lakes until the Trent-Severn Waterway, along with the Welland and Erie Canals were built to allow ships to pass around this bottleneck. The oldest lighthouse on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes was set up at Fort Niagara in 1818 to aid navigation. The basin is largely rural, with many scenic resort areas.
The History of the Soo Locks
The St. Marys River is the only water connection between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes. There is a section of the river known as the St. Marys Rapids where the water falls about 21 feet from the level of Lake Superior to the level of the lower lakes. This natural barrier through navigation made necessary the construction of the locks project known as the St. Marys Falls Canal.
The world-famous Soo Locks form a passage for deep-draft ships around the rapids in the St. Marys River. Before white men came to the area, the Ojibway Indians who lived nearby portaged their canoes around the "Bawating" (rapids) to reach Lake Superior from the St. Marys River.
Early pioneers arriving in the territory were forced to carry their canoes around the rapids. When settlement of the Northwest Territory brought increased trade and large boats, it became necessary to unload the boats, haul the cargoes around the rapids in wagons, and reload in other boats.
In 1797, the Northwest Fur Company constructed a navigation lock 38 feet long on the Canadian side of the river for small boats. This lock remained in use until destroyed in the War of 1812. Freight and boats were again portaged around the rapids.
Congress passed an act in 1852 granting 750,000 acres of public land to the State of Michigan as compensation to the company that would build a lock permitting waterborne commerce between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes. The Fairbanks Scale Company, which had extensive mining interests, in the upper peninsula, undertook this challenging construction project in 1853.
In spite of adverse conditions, Fairbanks' aggressive accountant, Charles T. Harvey, completed a system of two locks, in tandem, each 350 feet long, within the 2 year deadline set by the State of Michigan. On May 31, 1855, the locks were turned over to the state and designated as the State Lock.
Boats which passed through the State Lock were required to pay a toll of four cents per ton, until 1877, when the toll was reduced to three cents.
Within a few years, commerce through the canal had grown to national importance, and the need for new locks became clear. The funds required exceeded the state's capabilities, and thus, in 1881 the locks were transferred to the United States government, and were placed under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps has operated the locks, toll free, since that time.
The pictures below are of the New Staten Island Ferry Launched in September 2003, the Photos were taken by Mr. Dick Lund. Dick has one of the most extensive photo collections on the Web. Mr. Lund has graciously allowed me to use these photos here. They do not belong to me down below you will find a link to his great site.
DAVES EMS HEADQUARTERS
GREAT LAKE SHIPPING
On Sept 20, 2003 The New Staten Island Ferry Guy V. Molinari was Launched
(Soo Locks Four Views)
which is the largest Lock and Newest of the locks
Slightly Used Locks
STATE OF MICHIGAN
WE REMEMBER THE CREW & THE 729 FOOT EDMUND FITZGERALD AND IT'S TRAGIC LOSS ON LAKE SUPERIOR ON NOVEMBER 10, 1975
On November 10, 1975 the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior. All 29 crew members died.
The Fitzgerald weighted 13,632 tons and was 729 feet long. In 1958, when it was first launched, it was the largest carrier on the Great Lakes, and remained so until 1971. The Fitzgerald was labeled "The Pride of the American Flag". In 1964 it became the first ship on the Great Lakes to carry more than a million tons of ore through the Soo Locks. On November 9, 1975 she departed from Superior, WI with approximately 26,000 tons of ore bound for Detroit MI.
The Brave Crew lost:
Ernest M. McSorley, 63, Captain, Toledo Ohio
John H. McCarthy, 62, Mate, Bay Village, Ohio
James A. Pratt, 44, second mate, Lakewood, Ohio
Michael E. Armagost, 37, third mate, Iron River, Wisconsin
Thomas Bentsen, 23, oiler, St. Joseph, Michigan
Thomas D. Borgeson, 4l, maintenance man, Duluth, Minnesota
John D. Simmons, 60, wheelsman, Ashland, Wisconsin
Eugene W. O'Brien, 50, wheelsman, Toledo, Ohio
John J. Poviatch, 59, wheelsman, Bradenton, Florida
Ranson E. Cundy, 53, watchman, Superior, Wisconsin
William J. Spengler, 59, watchman, Toledo, Ohio
Karl A. Peckol, 20, watchman, Ashtabula, Ohio
Mark A. Thomas, 2l, deck hand, Richmond Heights, Ohio
Paul M. Rippa, 22, deck hand, Ashtabula, Ohio
Bruce L. Hudson, 22, deck hand, North Olmsted, Ohio
David E. Weiss, 22, cadet, Agoura, California
Robert C. Rafferty, 62, steward, Toledo, Ohio
Allen G. Kalmon, 43, second cook, Washburn, Wisconsin
Frederick J. Beetcher, 56, porter, Superior, Wisconsin
Nolan F. Church, 55, porter, Silver Bay, Minnesota
George Holl, 60, chief engineer, Cabot, Pennsylvania
Edward F. Bindon, 47, first assistant engineer, Fairport Harbor, Ohio
Thomas E. Edwards, 50, second assistant engineer, Oregon, Ohio
Russell G. Haskell, 40, second assistant engineer, Millbury, Ohio
Oliver J. Champeau, 4l, third assistant engineer, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Blaine H. Wilhelm, 52, oiler, Moguah, Wisconsin
Ralph G. Walton, 58, oiler, Fremont, Ohio
Joseph W. Mazes, 59, special maintenance man, Ashland, Wisconsin
Gordon F. MacLellan, 30, wiper, Clearwater, Florida
The Ballard of the Edmund Fitz By: Gordon Lightfoot
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead, when the skies of November turn gloomy.
With a load of iron ore - 26,000 tons more Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed When the gales of November came early
The ship was the pride of the American side Coming back from some mill in Wisconson As the big freighters go it was bigger than most With a crew and the Captain well seasoned.
Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night when the ships bell rang Could it be the North Wind they'd been feeling.
The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound And a wave broke over the railing And every man knew, as the Captain did, too, T'was the witch of November come stealing.
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait When the gales of November came slashing When afternoon came it was freezing rain In the face of a hurricane West Wind
When supper time came the old cook came on deck Saying fellows it's too rough to feed ya
At 7PM a main hatchway caved in He said fellas it's been good to know ya.
The Captain wired in he had water coming in And the good ship and crew was in peril And later that night when his lights went out of sight Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Does anyone know where the love of God goes When the words turn the minutes to hours The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay If they'd fifteen more miles behind her.
They might have split up or they might have capsized They may have broke deep and took water And all that remains is the faces and the names Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.
Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings In the ruins of her ice water mansion Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams, The islands and bays are for sportsmen.
And farther below Lake Ontario Takes in what Lake Erie can send her And the iron boats go as the mariners all know With the gales of November remembered.
In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral The church bell chimed, 'til it rang 29 times For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee Superior, they say, never gives up her dead When the gales of November come early.
The Anderson which had been following the Fitzgerald ended up as the primary vessel in the search, taking the lead. With the ship pounding and rolling badly, the crew of the Anderson discovered the Fitzgerald's two lifeboats and other debris but no sign of survivors. Only one other vessel, the William Clay Ford, was willing to leave the safety of Whitefish Bay to join in the search at the time.
The Coast Guard launched Helo's from Traverse City Air Station along with a fixed-wing HU-16 aircraft at 10 pm and dispatched two cutters, the Naugatuck and the Woodrush. The Naugatuck arrived at 12:45 pm on November 11, 1975 & the Woodrush arrived on November 14, having journeyed all the way from Duluth, Minnesota.
The Coast Guard conducted an extensive and thorough search. On November 14, a U.S. Navy plane equipped with a magnetic anomaly detector located a strong contact 17 miles north-northwest of Whitefish Point. During the following three days, the Coast Guard cutter Woodrush, using a sidescan sonar, located two large pieces of wreckage in the same area. Another sonar survey was conducted November 22-25 1975.
The Edmund Fitzgerald was located and filmed at the bottom of Lake Superior at 535 feet below the surface of the lake.
The Woodrush and its crew searched for the crew of ill-fated ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald after it sank in Lake Superior Nov. 10, 1975. Coast Guard suspended the search Nov. 13, searching because of the remote chances of finding the 29-man crew from the 729-foot ship in the freezing water.
Lake Erie has an average depth of 62 feet and a maximum depth of 210 feet.
Lake Huron has an average depth of 175 feet and a maximum depth of 750 feet
Lake Michigan has an average depth of 279 feet and a maximum depth of 925 feet
Lake Ontario has an average depth of 210 feet and a maximum depth of 283 feet
Lake Superior has an average depth of 500 feet and a maximum depth of 1332 feet
In 1923 the Legislature ordered the State Highway Department to establish a ferry service at the Straits. Within five years traffic on this facility became so heavy that the late Governor Fred Green ordered the same agency to make a study of bridge feasibility.
Vacationland - 1952
In the winter of 1952, the Highway Department acquired the 10,000 horsepower "Vacationland". Built by the Great Lakes Engineering Works in River Rouge, Michigan, it cost $4,745,000 and, with a 75 foot beam and a 360 foot length, became the queen of the fleet. The "Vacationland" carried nearly 150 cars and trucks. The five-vessel fleet had a total carrying capacity of about 500 vehicles.
City of Petoskey - 1940
When the government purchased the "Mackinaw City" and the "Sainte Ignace" in 1940 for war purposes, the State obtained a Pere Marquette Railway boat for service at the Straits of Mackinac. The ferry was renamed the "City of Petoskey". The vessel could carry 105 vehicles.
Winter service began in 1931 when the Highway Department arranged with the Mackinaw Transportation Company to carry cars across the Straits on a railroad icebreaker during the cold months. This arrangement turned out to be poor business for the State, so in 1936 the Highway Department leased the railroad icebreaker "Sainte Marie" for winter operations on a regular schedule.
Ariel - 1923
Car ferry service began on July 31, 1923, with the little "Ariel", a river boat which had operated in the Detroit River between Walkerville, Ontario and Detroit. The Ariel, which accommodated only 20 cars, went out of service at the end of the 1923 season. The vessel was laid up in Cheboygan, Michigan, until it was sold in 1926 to the Port Huron - Sarnia Ferry Company. The ferry provided service between Port Huron and Sarnia, Ontario, on the St. Clair River.
Prior to the Mackinac Bridge Construction and Opening to traffic on November 1, 1957, car ferry service between Mackinaw City and St. Ignace was the only connection between to the Lower and Upper Penn. In it's 34 years of service, the ferries operated under the authority of the Michigan Department of State Highways carried approximately 12 million vehicles and more than 30 million passengers across the Straits of Mackinac. The state ferry operation, in effect a highway over water, was unique in being the first service of its kind operated by a state highway department. It came into being through an act
of the State Legislature, which reacted to public displeasure with the infrequent and expensive ferry service for motor vehicles provided by railroad boats. Most travelers, including many who made regular crossings, viewed the passing of the state ferries with mixed emotions. The new $100 million bridge came as a blessing and a necessity, boosting tourist traffic in the Upper Peninsula and helping economic development. Driving by auto high above the blue waters of the Straits is a memorable experience. But the leisurely five-mile ferry trip was a thrill of its own. For many passengers, it was their only experience aboard a ship.
The five-mile bridge, including approaches, and the world's longest suspension bridge between cable anchorages, had been designed by the great engineer Dr. David B. Steinman. Merritt-Chapman & Scott Corporation's $25,735,600 agreement to build all the foundations led to the mobilization of the largest bridge construction fleet ever assembled.
The American Bridge Division of United States Steel Corporation, awarded a $44,532,900 contract to build this superstructure, began its work of planning and assembly. In U.S. Steel's mills the various shapes, plates, bars, wire and cables of steel necessary for the superstructure and for the caissons and cofferdams of the foundation, were prepared. The bridge was officially begun amid proper ceremonies on May 7 & 8, 1954, at St. Ignace and Mackinaw City.
The bridge opened to traffic on November 1, 1957 according to schedule, despite the many hazards of marine construction over the turbulent Straits of Mackinac. The last of the Mackinac Bridge bonds were retired July 1, 1986. Fare revenues are now used to operate and maintain the Bridge and repay the State of Michigan for monies advanced to the Authority since the facility opened to traffic in 1957.
Jan 18, 1955 winter Break
OCTOBER 24, 1954 CASSIONS
Total Length of Bridge (5 Miles) 26,372 Ft.
Total Length of Steel Superstructure 19,243 Ft.
Length of Suspension Bridge (including Anchorages) 8,614 Ft.
Total Length of North Approach 7,129 Ft.
Length of Main Span (between Main Towers) 3,800 Ft.
HEIGHTS AND DEPTHS
Height of Main Towers above Water 552 Ft. 168.25 Meters
Maximum Depth to Rock at Midspan Unknown Unknown
Maximum Depth of Water at Midspan 295 Ft. 90 Meters
Maximum Depth of Tower Piers below Water 210 Ft. 64 Meters
Height of Roadway above Water at Midspan 199 Ft. 61 Meters
Underclearance at Midspan for Ships 155 Ft. 47 Meters
Maximum Depth of Water at Piers 142 Ft. 43 Meters
Maximum Depth of Piers Sunk through Overburden 105 Ft. 32 Meters
Total Length of Wire in Main Cables 42,000 Miles
Maximum Tension in Each Cable 16,000 Tons
Number of Wires in Each Cable 12,580
Weight of Cables 11,840 Tons
Diameter of Main Cables 24 1/2 Inches
Diameter of Each Wire 0.196 Inches
Total Concrete in Bridge 466,300 Cu. Yds. 356,512 Cu. Meters
Total Concrete in Substructure 451,000 Cu. Yds. 344,814 Cu. Meters
Total Concrete in One Anchorage (No. 22) 91,600 Cu. Yds. 70,033 Cu. Meters
Total Concrete in One Pier (No. 19) 80,600 Cu. Yds. 61,623 Cu. Meters
Total Concrete in Superstructure 15,300 Cu. Yds. 11,698 Cu. Meters
Total Weight of Bridge 1,024,500 Tons
Total Weight of Concrete 931,000 Tons
Total Weight of Substructure 919,100 Tons
Total Weight of Two Anchorages 360,380 Tons
Total Weight of Two Main Piers 318,000 Tons
Total Weight of Superstructure 104,400 Tons
Total Weight of Structural Steel 71,300 Tons
Weight of Steel in Each Main Tower 6,500 Tons
Total Weight of Cable Wire 11,840 Tons
Total Weight of Concrete Roadway 6,660 Tons
Total Weight of Reinforcing Steel 3,700 Tons
RIVETS AND BOLTS
Total Number of Steel Rivets 4,851,700
Total Number of Steel Bolts 1,016,600
DESIGN AND DETAIL DRAWINGS
Total Number of Engineering Drawings 4,000
Total Number of Blueprints 85,000
Total, at the Bridge Site 3,500
At Quarries, Shops, Mills, etc. 7,500
Total Number of Engineers 350
Mackinac Bridge Authority Appointed June, 1950
Board of Three Engineers Retained June, 1950
Report of Board of Engineers January, 1951
Financing and Construction Authorized by Legislature April 30, 1952
D.B. Steinman Selected as Engineer January, 1953
Preliminary Plans and Estimates Completed March, 1953
Construction Contracts Negotiated March, 1953
Bids Received for Sale of Bonds December 17, 1953
Began Construction May 7, 1954
Open to traffic November 1, 1957
Formal dedication June 25-28, 1958
50 millionth crossing September 25, 1984
40th Anniversary Celebration November 1, 1997
100 millionth crossing June 25, 1998
Soo Lock 1855
Soo Locks Facts
*The Soo Area Office is responsible for the operation and maintenance of four navigation locks, as well as the improvement and maintenance of navigation channels and structures, such as breakwaters, dikes, and walls in the St. Marys River.
* The Soo Office is also responsible for compiling statistics on commerce passing through the locks. Data is also gathered on river and lake levels, discharges through power canals, and locks and compensating works.
* This office maintains and operates a hydroelectric power plant that supplies power to the Soo complex.
* The Soo Locks has also had a role in our nation's defense; supplying waterborne raw materials during every major war and conflict since the late 1800's. The raw materials required from the Great Lakes Region would be the same for war as for peacetime--only the tonnage levels would differ. The primary commodities that pass through the locks are tactonite pellets, grain, and western coal.
*The entire facility at the St. Marys Falls Canal is operated and maintained by the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army Engineer District, Detroit. Immediate supervision of the facility is the responsibility of the Area Engineer, Soo Area.
* The Poe Lock has the largest capacity of the four locks. The lock, completed in 1968, took six years to build and is the only lock ever constructed between two operating locks.
* Many different types of vessels pass through the locks during a year, varying in size from the small passenger vessels and workboats to large ships carrying more than 72,000 tons of freight in a single cargo. In recent years, the number of passages through the locks has averaged about 10,000 vessels per year, down from previous years due to the larger vessels being able to carry more freight at one time.
How long does it take a ship to raise or lower in the Soo Locks?
The following are the fill and empty times for the Mac and Poe Locks, the fill time is how long to raise a boat and the empty time is how long to lower a boat.
**MacArthur Lock (or 1st Lock)
Filling Time: 8 minutes
Emptying Time: 7 minutes
**Poe Lock (or 2nd Lock)
Filling Time: 12 minutes
Emptying Time: 10 minutes
THESOO LOCKS ARE LOCATED IN THE UPPER PENNINSULA IN THE CITY OF SAULT ST. MARIE, MICHIGAN
St. Marys Falls Canal
Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
Transporting products by water has played a major role in history. Navigating ships within waterways is essential to commerce and quality of life. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains navigation waterways throughout the United States much like road crews maintain highways. These waterways include the nation's deep-draft harbors that serve the seaborne commerce and smaller harbors for a variety of recreational and commercial purposes. The Corps has also built an intracoastal and inland network of channels with locks and dams for navigation. These waterways must be kept at the appropriate depth and width so ships and other watercraft can move safely and easily. Waterway improvements may include building breakwaters and jetties to protect homes and businesses from crashing waves. Several methods of dredging can be used to remove the sediments from the waterways. The dredged sediments are frequently used for other beneficial uses such as creating islands and wetlands or improving habitats.
Great Lakes Navigation
The Great Lakes serve as the nation's fourth sea coast by transporting vital commodities to and from the nation's heartland. Waterborne commerce is critical to the regional and national economy. Commercial navigation on the Great Lakes is dominated by the transport of raw materials for steel making, coal-fired power production, and construction (limestone, cement, stone & gravel). Total annual commerce on the Great Lakes averages 175.3 million tons, with 86.2 million tons passing through the locks at Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. Over 75 percent of the iron ore produced in the U.S. transits through these locks. Large vessels, which must use the Poe Lock (one of four locks at the facility), account for over 70 percent of the total U.S. cargo capacity. For more statistics on the commerce at Federal harbors on the Great Lakes.
Soo Locks Visitor Center, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
Located on the upper grounds of the St. Mary's Falls Canal, the Visitor's Center provides information about the locks and the ships that use them. The Center contains an operating lock model where visitors could see how a ship goes through a lock and a theater showing movies of the locks, Great Lakes shipping, and related topics, as well as many other artifacts, charts, maps, and photographs of interest. Since 1971, the first year records were available, over 13 million people have visited the Soo Locks. It is open between April and mid-November, from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.
SOO LOCK OPERATIONS
The operation and maintenance of this navigation system involves a number of activities, including:Mapping and Surveys
Operation of Locks
Maintenance and repair of breakwaters and jetties
redging of navigation channels, and operation of visitor's centers.
In addition to the operation and maintenance of this navigation system, the Corps has an authority to help state, local and tribal governments develop new projects for commercial and recreational navigation. This authority can be used for:commercial navigation features, and; recreational navigation features.
U.S. Coast Guard (Ninth District) "Great Lakes"
The Ninth District employs nearly 7,000 active duty, reserve, auxiliary and civilian members. The district includes two air stations, two air facilities, five Group offices, eight Marine Safety offices, nine cutters and 46 small boat stations. These units are responsible for over 1,000 miles along the Canadian border and 6,700 miles of U.S. shoreline spanning eight states and all five Great Lakes.
Soo Lock History
View of the Macarthur Lock and the Poe Lock
A view of the Canadian Coast Guard Samuel Risley locking thru the MacArthur Lock
GREAT LAKES DEPTH'S
SOURCE OF INFORMATION ARMY CORP OF ENGINEERS CLICK ON ICON
Herewith is a letter I wrote to my young son when the Fitz sank on Lake Superior on this day in 1975...my memory of that night is still vivid in my memory on my 79th year. Dear Ralph...here is my account of what I was doing on the night of the Fitzgerald sinking. I wrote it on my 75th birthday. I hope it will give you some insight on that event and the significance of it's meaning to me as a sailor and some of the things they endure to follow a profession that is a most dangerous and lonely one at best sometimes. Even Jesus knew of their plight...and, he chose them as HIS Apostles. .From A Sailor's Log....by Duane Bartlett On his 75th Birthday...Reminiscing. Nov. 7, 2000....Today I celebrate 3/4 of a Century on this earth, some thoughts of this "Old Lonesome Sailor," as I was sometime known among my fellow shipmates.) I sailed on the Great Lakes for 35 years without missing a days work for the Columbia Transportation Company. As I observe my birthday I am reminded of a journey I began on another birthday in 1975.
My ship, the M/V Joseph H. Frantz, had departed Toledo Ohio with a cargo of coal for Ashland, Wisconsin, which is on the West end of Lake Superior. We entered Lake Superior on the morning of Nov. 10th. At approx. 1600 we pass abeam of Eagle Harbor, the middle of Lake Superior. As the sun set I was aware of a strange phenomenon...the sky was an odd, strange, peculiar color and the water was a glassy slate gray...as if brooding. Indeed it was. By the midnight watch the wind had reached hurricane strength and the waves looked like mountains...we were struggling to reach the lee of Madeline Island in the Apostle Islands where we could find safe anchorage. We finally managed to come around under the island and drop two anchors to hold us until the storm abated. I have never rolled a ship as hard as we did that night. In another part of the Big Lake Gitchee Gumee the Steamer Edmund Fitzgerald, the Columbia Fleet's Flagship, and the pride of the Fleet had sailed from Superior, Wis. Radio communication between ships on the Lakes is limited to about 50 miles so we had heard nothing from the Fitz.
We did not even know of her problems until we went to anchor and someone caught a message from the Coast Guard about the Fitz being missing. By morning we had made contact with our fleet dispatchers and they informed us of the night’s events. The Fitz was missing somewhere near Whitefish Point. The storm was so severe that the Coast Guard was unable to send search vessels out for some hours. The ship was eventually found under 500 feet of water 15 miles from the safety of the lee of Whitefish Point. The only thing that was ever found was a wrecked lifeboat and some other debris from on the decks. No bodies were ever found. Lake Superior never gives up her dead. The Fitz went down without a warning. no distress call...no nothing...she simply just disappeared from the lake. A ship following behind radioed the Coast Guard that the Fitz had dropped off his radar and vanished. The Pride of the Great Lakes Fleet had gone to the bottom in a wild storm of such force that the she had no opportunity to send a May Day. The sinking of the Fitz was a deep blow to me...
I had the privilege of working with and knowing all the men on the Fitz. I had worked with Captain McSorley for 9 years and with First Mate Jack McCarthy for 12 years. I loved them dearly. I knew all of the other crew members and had worked with most of them at one time or another. I was very saddened by this turn of events as was all the other seamen of the Great Lakes. On this occasion of my 75 birthday I think of that November Gale that took the lives of my friends. I am reminded how sweet life is and how short it can be in reality. I listen to the tribute of Gordon Lightfoot and his rendition of his song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and my eyes well with tears and I relive all the misery of that fateful night in that Hurricane West Wind of November 10, 1975. I am grateful to have survived to relate this story to you. It is etched in my memory forever.
I salute the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald...
The Old Lonesome Sailor.... "Bart"
The letter below is self explanatory; I thank Mr. Duane Bartlett (Bart) for providing me the opportunity to share a sailors history and memorial for the crew of the “Edmund Fitzgerald,” that tragically sank in a violent storm on Lake Superior taking with her twenty-nine men who were aboard her on November 10, 1975 (29 years ago)
THE EDMUND FITZGERALD JUNE 7, 1958
WE REMEMBER THE BRAVE 29 MEN WHO WERE LOST THE NIGHT OF NOVEMBER 10, 1975
STATE OF MICHIGAN
SOO LOCKS Close on January 15, 2013
Ending the 2012-2013 Shipping Season
Pictures in this section are copyrighted and belongs exclusively to Dick Lund Estate you will need permission to use any photos owned by him
Veteran Laker Joseph H. Frantz, fate was decided in April of 2005, as the decision was made to scrap the great vessel. The 618-foot Frantz which sailed the previous two seasons that had been under charter from Oglebay Norton Marine Services to the (Kinsman) Great Lakes Associates which had used the freighter primarily for the grain trade. The Frantz, which was built in 1925, was due for her five-year hull and machinery inspection; however the vessel reportedly needed extensive and extremely costly repair work which led to the decision to scrap the Frantz. The Frantz 80 year years of service leaves behind a distinguished and historical history and will be missed on the lakes. The Frantz left Buffalo April 29, 2005 headed for scrapping under tow in Port Colborne.
Photo by Dave D. "Site Owner"
Former Veteran Laker Joseph H. Frantz
Pictures of the above ferries are copy righted belonging to the Michigan Department of Transportation
Pictures of the bridge here are copyrighted. belonging to the Mackinac Bridge Authority
The photo was taken by Tim Burke, photographer for the Michigan Dept of Transportation.
Permission from: (c) Tim Burke
I took this picture in 1979 from Arch Rock on the back side of Mackinac Island. Can anyone identify this wreck?
Do you know the Name?
The above wreck was mistakably identified as the freighter: Nordmeer
SHIP RAMS HOLLAND
ALGORAIL OCTOBER 8, 1972
Click picture to enlarge
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BARGE BEACHED IN HOLLAND MI OCTOBER 18, 2005
The New Mac was entering Grand Haven Monday December 12, 2005 at 4:00 pm shortly after entering the channel the Mac from the center of the channel to the right hitting the south channel wall a short distance from were we were. The Mac sustained damage to the starboard bow just above the waterline. their webcam this video can be seen by"clicking here"
Saving lives on land and on the water
FITZ LIFE BOAT NOVEMBER 10, 1975
GRAND HAVEN COAST GUARD FESTIVAL END AUGUST 3,2013
Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. A groundbreaking ceremony marked the first step toward construction of a new Great Lakes shipping lock on the St. Marys River, which supporters have sought for more than two decades.
The Soo Locks complex raises and lowers ships on the river linking Lake Superior and Lake Huron, forming a vital gateway for freighters hauling iron ore, coal and other raw materials to port cities such as Detroit and Cleveland. Last year, more than 8,460 vessels hauling a combined 81 million tons of freight passed through the locks.
of four existing locks, just one - the Poe - can accommodate the Great Lakes' largest ships, which can be up to 1,000 feet long. Those super-sized ships carry more than 70 percent of the cargo that goes through the locks.
If the Poe were disabled, Midwestern industries such as steelmaking and electric power generation could be crippled, industry representatives say.
"It would pretty much shut down the lakes," said Glen Nekvasil, spokesman for the Lake Carriers Association, a trade group representing U.S.-flagged shippers. A new Poe-sized lock would replace two others: the Sabin, which has been decommissioned, and the Davis, which is seldom used. The MacArthur, which can handle smaller vessels, will remain in service. "We look forward to completing the project - hopefully ahead of schedule if funding allows us," said John Niemiec, project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees the Soo Locks.
Congress authorized the new lock in 1986, but provided no construction money until placing $17 million into this year's budget. That will pay for two "coffer dams" - steel cells filled with rock that will restrain river waters as the lock is built.
"We take a great deal of satisfaction in seeing actual construction start," said Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, chairman of the Great Lakes Commission.
But finishing the lock is expected to take 10 years and more than $500 million, and officials acknowledged there is no guarantee of future funding. The Army Corps has never considered the new lock a high enough priority to be included in its annual budget proposals. Congressional supporters inserted the money for the coffer dams.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said he and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., pressed the case for the project in a meeting with corps officials after the groundbreaking. It's clearly a challenge to do this, but it's a challenge which we are confident can be met, Levin stated.
Construction of the New Sault Super Lock
Photo by: American Steamship
SAD LOSS FOR ALGOMA SHIPPING
The M/V Algoport broke in half and sank overnight in heavy seas in August 2009. The Algoport was being towed to Chinato to have a new forebody attached over the winter. The Algoport tow encountered heavy seas from Tropical Storm Dujuan that had passed near the towed Algoports location. The Algoport's tow was just slightly a week away from the shipyard Chengxi that had been contracted by Canadian Shipping Company Algoma to do the work on the the great ship.
The tug "Atlantic Hickory" which had been towing the Algoport stated she broke in half, and the crew managed to cut the tow line moments before the M/V Algoport sank. The M/V Algoport does not represent an environmental hazard or an obstacle to the shipping lanes and no injuries or deaths occured as a result of the sinking.
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Lake Express Ferry
Bridge Walk 2009 Security
THE THOUGHTS OF A VERY SPECIAL SAILOR
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2010-2011 Shipping Season saw a dramatic rise compared to the dismal 2009-2010 Season
Great Lakes traffic is up dramatically this year. U.S.-flagged lake carriers carried 50% more cargo in April 2010 than April 2009, then last year at this time. Seaway Port Authority of Duluth Trade Developer Ron Johnson says most commodities are up this year. "Especially with the iron ore pellets. With the steel industry ramping up, it's really good to see a lot more ships came out early this year so the iron ore pellets are the rising star."
Vessel agent David Sauer of S.A. McLennan Agency says as the economy goes, so does the shipping industry. It's all about responding to demand. "When the steel mills start operating, they need iron ore so they need to get it down somehow so the shipping has to pick up which means the shipping needs the product which means the iron mines start producing mine pellets to feed the furnaces."
The Lake Carriers Association says iron ore cargo has more than doubled so far this year. Limestone, an indication construction is busier, is up 47%. Lake Carriers' Glen Nekvasil says all of this has to be taken with a grain of salt. Last year was the worst shipping season since the Great Depression year of 1938.
"We're about 15% below the five year average. It's important to point that out. As everybody is happy to see we're moving in the right direction again, our economy has a ways to go before it's going to be termed robust again. So it's not quite time to be singing 'Happy Days Are Here Again'." Coal cargo got a slow start, down 15% in April. Nekvasil blames in part later sailing dates for some coal-carrying ships. More Great Lakes sailors are working this year too. Forty-two of the 55 U.S.-flagged vessels are operating. That's seven more than a year ago.
St. Ignance Based Allied EMS Crosses Mackinaw Bridge Code-One
300-foot long L.R. Doty Found after 112 Years
Milwaukee - A great wooden steamship that sank more than a century ago in a violent Lake Michigan storm has been found off the Milwaukee-area shoreline, and divers say the intact vessel appears to have been perfectly preserved by the cold fresh waters.
Finding the 300-foot-long L.R. Doty was important because it was the largest wooden ship that remained unaccounted for, said Brendon Baillod, the president of the Wisconsin Underwater Archaeology Association.
"It's the biggest one I've been involved with," said Baillod, who has taken part in about a dozen such finds. "It was really exhilarating."
The Doty was carrying a cargo of corn from South Chicago to Ontario, Canada in October 1898 when it sailed into a terrible storm, Baillod said. Along with snow and sleet, there were heavy winds that whipped up waves of up to 30 feet. The Doty should have been able to handle the weather. The ship was only five years old, and the 300-foot wooden behemoth's hull was reinforced with steel arches.
But it was towing a small schooner, the Olive Jeanette, which began to founder in the storm after the tow line apparently snapped, Baillod said. The Doty probably sank when it came to the schooner's aid. All 17 of its crew members died, along with the ship's cats, Dewey and Watson.
Divers found the ship upright and intact, settled into the clay at the lake's bottom. Even the ship's cargo of corn was still in its hold. The Doty is so well-preserved because it's in a cold, freshwater lake. It's also far enough below the surface that storms don't affect it.
While details of the sinking remain unclear, Baillod said the most likely explanation is that rudder chain snapped while the Doty was turning around to aid the Olive Jeanette. That would have left the 20-foot-tall ship at the mercy of 30-foot waves that would have dumped tons of water on the fragile wooden hatches.
There are no plans to raise the Doty, which is now the property of the state of Wisconsin. The ship will remain preserved indefinitely where it is, rather than exposing it to air that would cause it to rot away within a few years.
Thousands of ships remain submerged in the Great Lakes, some vessels scuttled and others the victims of shipwrecks. Lake Michigan has about 500 dive-worthy ships still to be found.
Burns Harbor Entering Muskegon MI
Milwaukee Clipper moored in Muskegon MI as Museum 7-2010
Muskegon Paper Co. Muskegon MI 7-2010
EPA Christens New Great Lakes Research Vessel
Duluth, MN - On Aug. 6, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator for Research and Development, Paul Anastas today joins Congressman Jim Oberstar, D-Chisholm in the christening of the Lake Explorer II, a new vessel to support EPA research in the Great Lakes Area.
The vessel is being commissioned as the RV Lake Explorer II to support EPA research in the Great Lakes—a vast region with over 10,000 miles of shoreline. The Great Lakes are the largest surface freshwater system on earth, and provide water for drinking, transportation, power, recreation and many other uses.
The Lake Explorer II will be used to conduct applied and exploratory research on environmental stressors affecting water quality and biological integrity of the lakes. Stresses on the lakes include toxic and nutrient pollution, invasive species, habitat degradation, air pollution and runoff from farm chemicals on agricultural lands.
“The Lake Explorer II will serve EPA as an important tool in protecting the environmental health of the Great Lakes.," says Paul Anastas. The Lake Explorer II, 90 feet long, with a maximum draft of 7 feet, has sleeping quarters for 11 crew and scientists. EPA replaced the wastewater holding system and many structural features needed for its Great Lakes research. Scientists can now analyze water quality by processing plankton samples on board, allowing the ship to perform modern oceanographic research.
EPA operates one other research vessel in the Great Lakes. The Lake Guardian is the Agency’s largest Great Lakes research and monitoring vessel. The vessel conducts monitoring programs that sample the water, aquatic life, sediments, and air to assess the health of the Great Lakes. It is also used to support research activities conducted by federal, state and local agencies and universities. The Lake Guardian has been operating on the waters of the Great Lakes for the past 12 years.
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2012 37th Anniversary of the Loss of both the Crew & the Edmund Fitzgerald
(November 10, 1975)
WW-II Vessels Coast Guard Vessel moored in Muskegon MI Channel
Photo of the Lake Express just prior to being taken out of service for engine repair's in Late July 2011.
--New Photo's of the Lake Express taken in early August 2011, after engine repaired and place back in service.
Heavy smoke appears prior to engine repairs that required her to be taken out of service in late July 2011. Click to enlarge photo
Back in service Lake Express departs from Muskegon MI in early August 2011. Click to enlarge photo
Back in service Lake Express inbound to Muskegon MI from Milwaukee, WI. in early August 2011. Click to enlarge photo
On July 31, 2011 the M/V H. Lee White sits outside of the Muskegon MI Channel. Despite my efforts I could not discovered why she appeared to be anchored All day and into the evening on Sunday July 31, 2011.
Bridge Walk 2010 (View from Mackinac Bridge)
Greilickville Tanker unloads in Traverse City MI
Photo By: Michigan Department of Transportationof the Staits of Mackinac
The tragic Loss of both the Crew & the Great Lakes Freighter Edmund Fitzgerald November 10, 1975
I will be adding nearly six (6) dozen new photo's taken over the summer, fall of 2012, and winter 2012-2013.
Freighter passes directly under the Mackinac Bridge
Passenger Ship Docks @ Traverse City MI
Tug Ashton at Muskegon MI for lay-up
Dick Lund Passed Away
Dave’s EMS Headquarters and Great Lakes Ship Watching Community have lost a true trusted and giving friend Dick Lund Owner and Webmaster of Dick Lund’s Great Lakes Photo’s. Dick passed away February 05, 2013 following his valiant fight against cancer. Dick helped me in so many ways over the years , with my website allowing me to share many of his wonderful photographs of the Freighters that sail on the Great Lakes.
In addition Dick assembled music and photographic DVD’s of Michigan Freighters and waterfalls, and provided me a copy a no charge. He was a very generous man. When he learned I was back in the hospital for spinal surgery, he sent me three wonderful and inspirational books. I did not know initially that Dick was diagnosed with Cancer in June 2012.
Dick notified his visitor with a brief message, stating his diagnosis, Dick had planned on allowing his site to go sown two years after his death, and however he changed his mind a month before going home and asked his nephew who has agreed to maintain the site.
May God Grant you a very special place in heaven my friend. You are already missed, but will never be forgotten.