December 14, 2012

Lost in Lake Michigan - and found again in South Haven

South Haven residents were able to spot a shipwreck from the shoreline this December.  Previously the remains of the ship were only visible by floating above her or diving to the site, but as the photos at right show, there are portions now exposed above the waterline.  This year's drought throughout the midwest, coupled with the naturally lower water level in December has brought Lake Michigan's water levels lower than they have been in decades. 

The ship, called the City of Green Bay had quite a storied ending according to the Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates.  Early in October 1887 the ship was loaded with iron ore from Escanaba and headed to the port of Saint Joseph.  Increasing wind speeds that reached gale force by morning drove the ship into the shore near South Haven.  Rescue efforts were handled badly and all but one sailor perished.  South Haven's own Michigan Maritime Museum is an excellent source for learning more about the shipwrecks throughout Lake Michigan.  More detail of the City of Green Bay shipwreck can also be found on the website at MichiganShipwrecks.org.

If you are headed to the Victoria Resort this winter, ask one of the innkeepers how to find the wreck.  Although lake levels do fluctuate, the wreck should be visible on calm days during the winter when water levels are generally low.