Historical society finds 1880s shipwreck in Lake Michigan

Historical society finds 1880s shipwreck in Lake Michigan

The Wisconsin Historical Society has announced the discovery of a ship that had been lost since the late 1800s in Lake Michigan.

Diver Zach Whitrock at the site of the Trinidad wreck

According to a Facebook post, shipwreck enthusiasts and historians Brendon Baillod and Bob Jaeck located the schooner Trinidad earlier this year, submerged in 270 feet of water off Algoma.

The schooner, constructed in 1867 in New York, was a "canaller," specifically designed for navigating the Welland Canal connecting Lake Erie and Ontario. It primarily served the Great Lakes grain trade, shuttling coal and iron from New York and returning with Midwest grain.

The historical society noted that the ship's owners did not invest much in its maintenance, resulting in its relatively short career. On its last voyage on 11 May 1881, as the Trinidad headed down Wisconsin's coast toward Milwaukee, it started taking on water. Despite the vessel's continued course, it suddenly and violently lurched, and began to sink.

The captain and crew escaped in the ship's yawl, ultimately making it to Algoma (then known as Ahnapee). Sadly, the ship's mascot, a large Newfoundland dog, was asleep and perished in the sinking.

The historical society described the discovery as "remarkable," highlighting that while the Trinidad might not be well-known among the many undiscovered shipwrecks in Wisconsin waters, this remained a significant find.

Wisconsin Historical Society

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