We drove northwest a couple of hours from foggy St. Ignace to Whitefish Point, which is near the town of Paradise, Michigan. Last fall we briefly stopped at Whitefish Bay on our way back from the Pictured Rocks, but this year we returned to visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. The museum features an exclusive exhibit of the S. S. Edmund Fitzgerald, a massive ore carrier that was lost in a November 1975 storm. This bell was recovered from the Edmund Fitzgerald’s pilothouse roof in 1995.
Even if you’re not from a Great Lakes state, you might have heard about the Edmund Fitzgerald from the Gordon Lightfoot song about her.
I remember writing a report about the Edmund Fitzgerald when I was young. Although I wrote of the freighter’s immensity, I wasn’t able to put into perspective exactly how huge she was. This ship model, displayed within the museum, helped me to visualize it better.
At 729 feet and 13,632 gross tons she was the largest ship on the Great Lakes, for thirteen years, until 1971.
The museum contained displays regarding numerous other Great Lakes shipwrecks, in addition to the Edmund Fitzgerald. This display box containing recovered items from the Superior City wreckage especially struck me—a sailor’s gold wedding band.
The museum was built on the grounds of the Whitefish Point Light Station.
The famous Whitefish Point Light Tower will be exactly 150 years old in 2011. It is the oldest operating lighthouse on Lake Superior, providing its life-saving beacon across the waters continuously since 1861.
The light station is currently being restored, so we were unable to climb the tower as Rebecca had hoped.
Next up, pics of Lake Superior at Whitefish Bay.