Today in Great Lakes History
- November 04The CARTIERCLIFFE HALL was registered at Toronto, Ont. on November 4, 1977, but didn't enter service until the spring of 1978 because of mechanical difficulties during her sea trials.
The JOSEPH G. BUTLER, JR. was launched November 4, 1905 for the Tonopah Steamship Co. (Hutchinson & Co., mgr.) Cleveland, OH.
HERON BAY (2) proceeded under her own power to Lauzon, Que. for her final lay-up on November 4, 1978.
NIPIGON BAY was launched November 4, 1950
The CHARLES L. HUTCHINSON (3) developed a sizable leak and almost sank November 4, 1925 during her tow to Superior after she struck a reef a few nights before.
The ROBERT C. STANLEY's keel was laid November 4, 1942.
UNITED STATES GYPSUM (2) grounded at Toledo, OH on November 4, 1972 resulting in damages totaling $125,000. Her propeller was removed and the rudder shaft was locked in position to finish the season as a manned barge
on the coal run from Toledo to Detroit, MI.
The Joseph H. Thompson became not only the largest vessel on the Great Lakes but also the longest dry bulk cargo vessel in the world when it entered service on November 4, 1952, departing Chicago on its first trip.
Setting the stage for the fateful storm which followed less than a week later which sank the Edmund Fitzgerald, many locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin were setting all-time record high temperatures for the month of November during the period of November 4-6, 1975. Grand Marais, MN reached 67 on November 5 and Superior reached 74 on November 6, both all-time records for the month. Many other notable Great Lakes storms, including the Armistice Day storm of 1940 and the storm that sank the Henry Steinbrenner in 1953, were proceeded by record-setting warm weather.
On 4 November 1877, MARY BOOTH (wooden scow-schooner, 132 t, built in 1857 at Buffalo) was carrying maple lumber in a storm in Lake Michigan. She became waterlogged but her crew doggedly clung to her until she appeared ready to turn turtle. Then her crew abandoned her and she rolled over. She drifted in the lake for several days. The crew landed at White Lake, Michigan and they were near death.
Port Huron Times of 4 November 1878: "The propeller CITY OF MONTREAL is believed to have gone down on Lake Michigan Friday [1 NOV 1878]. The schooner LIVELY, laden with coal for Bay City, is reported ashore 6 miles above Sand Beach, having gone on at 12 o'clock Sunday night [3 NOV 1878]. The schooner WOODRUFF, ashore at Whitehall, is a total loss. Two men were drowned, one died from injuries received, and Capt. Lingham was saved. The tugs E. M. PECK and MYSTIC, which went from the Sault to the assistance of the propeller QUEBEC, were wrecked near where she lies, one being on the beach and the other sunk below her decks. Both crews were rescued and were taken to St. Joseph Island."
On 4 November 1856, J. W. BROOKS (wooden propeller, 136', 322 t, built in 1851 at Detroit) was carrying provisions and copper ingots to Ogdensburg, New York in a storm when she foundered on Lake Ontario, 8 miles northeast of False Ducks Light. Estimates of the loss of lives range from 22 to 50. In July 1857, she was partially raised and some of her cargo was recovered. She only had a five year career, but besides this final incident, she had her share of disasters. In July 1855, she had a boiler explosion and in May of that same year, she sank in Canadian waters.
This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history
Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Jody Aho, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series