2010 has been the year of shipwreck discoveries in Sleeping Bear Dunes! In July, treasure hunters found the much sought after wreckage of a ship, the Westmoreland, lost in 1954 in the waters of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Last week the wreckage of an 1800’s wooden ship washed up on the beach in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
The record-breaking October 2010 Superstorm that produced 60 MPR winds and 22-foot waves was probably responsible for bringing the wreckage to shore. The wooden ship remnant is approximately 16 feet wide with a center beam of 40 feet. It was found by hikers who were traveling from the Dune Climb to Lake Michigan on the Dune Trail.
Experts say the wreckage could be one of two ships lost in the Manitou Passage in the mid-1800’s, but further investigation is necessary. Steve Harold, the director of the Manistee County Historical Museum speculates that the remnant is either from the St. Nicholas or the General Taylor. Both were wooden ships lost at sea during at that time and sank in the general vicinity of the wreckage.
It is unusual that wreckage this big would wash up on shore, but the October 2010 storm was on of the most intense storms in Great Lakes history. Waves a high as a two-story house can move objects that big. Maritime experts who know Great Lakes history and the power of a Great Lakes storms were still awestruck that wreckage of this size actually washed up on shore after sitting on the bottom of Lake Michigan for 150 years.
The news of the wreckage created quite a stir from groups such as the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, Great Lakes historians, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Maritime Museum and the Manistee County Historical Museum. Local bloggers and photographers scurried to the scene to take pictures and experience a piece of maritime history. Local TV stations and newspaper reporters also showed up on the scene. Enjoy a sampling of their photographs and videos below:
Other Leelanau lovers also captured the find on film including:
Traverse City’s Channel 9&10 News produced a video new story about the shipwreck: Old Shipwreck Washed Ashore at Sleeping Bear Dunes.
The shipwreck is open for viewing if you can make the hike up the Dune Climb and across the Dune Trail or from Glen Haven up the beach. The wreck is a historic artifact and is part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. It is illegal to disturb, tamper with or remove any shipwreck in Michigan.