WWI Era Freighter Wreck Located in Lake Superior

WWI Era Freighter Wreck Located in Lake Superior

Discovery of the Huronton wreck in Lake Superior by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society sheds light on a century-old maritime mystery.

The steel bulk freighter Huronton sunk in Lake Superior on Oct. 11, 1923
The steel bulk freighter Huronton sunk in Lake Superior on Oct. 11, 1923

The Huronton was a steel bulk freighter. It was designed to transport large quantities of bulk cargo, such as coal, grain or ore. These types of vessels are characterized by large, open holds and are specifically built to handle and transport unpackaged bulk cargo efficiently across water bodies. The Huronton, in particular, was navigating Lake Superior during its time of operation in the early 20th century.


On a fog-laden day in October 1923, intensified by forest fire smoke, the 238-foot-long steel bulk freighter Huronton was navigating Lake Superior. Its journey was abruptly halted by the 416-foot-long bulk freighter Cetus. The dense fog led to a devastating collision. The impact was so severe that the bow of the Cetus tore a massive hole in the Huronton's port side, momentarily locking the two ships together.

Bravery Amidst Chaos

Quick thinking by the Cetus's captain saved many lives. By moving forward, he "plugged" the gash in the Huronton, allowing its crew to evacuate. In a heart-wrenching moment, the crew's bulldog mascot was left behind. First Mate Dick Simpell's courageous act of returning to the sinking ship to rescue the dog became a poignant part of Huronton's legacy.

Discovery Deep Below

Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society

Bruce Lynn, GLSHS Executive Director, highlighted the significance of the find, noting the thrill of being the first to view the shipwreck after a century. The ship's location, deep within an 800-foot hole in the lake, posed challenges. Darryl Ertel, Director of Marine Operations, described the discovery as a moment of revelation, spotting the shipwreck in a small, deep recess of the lake.

Finding any shipwreck is exciting. But to think that we’re the first human eyes to look at this vessel 100 years after it sank, not many people have the opportunity to do that.

Bruce Lynn, GLSHS Executive Director

The Huronton's discovery is more than just a historical find; it is a testament to the bravery and resilience of those who sailed Lake Superior's unpredictable waters. It serves as a poignant reminder of the maritime history embedded within the Great Lakes.

Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS)

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