Edmund Fitzgerald Shipwreck Memorial

Edmund Fitzgerald Shipwreck Memorial

Death unknown
Memorial Site* Paradise, Chippewa County, Michigan, USA

* A structure erected in honor of someone whose remains lie elsewhere.

Plot Cenotaph
Memorial ID 6008 · View Source
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Great lakes Freighter Disaster. On November 10, 1975, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald was lost with her entire crew of 29 men on Lake Superior, 17 miles from Whitefish Point, Michigan. The site is the location of Whitefish Point Light Station, the oldest lighthouse on Lake Superior, and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Whitefish Point is in an area known as the "Graveyard of Ships." Hundreds of vessels lie on the bottom of the bay and its approaches. The lighthouse is located at the end of an 80 mile stretch of shoreline known as "Shipwreck Coast" The light has shined for almost 150 years except for the night of the Edmund Fitzgerald disaster. As the ship headed toward Whitefish Bay, forty-eight miles to the south, the light and its radio beacon failed. The Fitzgerald, already cripple by a damaged radar system, was left to fend for itself in the storm of the century. The "Fitz," a 729-foot bulk cargo carrier was constructed by The Great Lakes Engineering works at its River Rouge Yard located on the Detroit River and launched on June 7, 1958. The ship issued no radio distress calls during her impending disaster. All aboard were lost and no bodies were ever recovered. The freighter was eventually located on the lake's bottom, 530 feet below the surface, broken in half, its bow upright but its stern upside down. Formal investigations were conducted by maritime organizations in both the U.S. and Canada (The wreck is in Canadian waters.) The ship barely 20 years old was one of the largest of its type in use on the Great Lakes and it featured the latest technology. The hearings only produced speculations as to why the vessel perished...the keel was weakened by wear and the long hull buffeted by gigantic waves caused a split. Another logical view suggests the ship merely took on water in its cargo hold thru improperly secured hatch covers. She had become heavy forward, taking a nose dive to the bottom breaking up during its underwater descent. Legacy...The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum documents the many shipwrecks which have occurred on Lakes: Michigan, Huron, Ontario, Erie and Superior. The facility has a vast array of artifacts on display including the bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald which is also sited as a memorial to her lost crew. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society has conducted a number of underwater expeditions to the wreck and had recovered the bell. Each year on November 10th, a Memorial Service is conducted at Whitefish Point for the crew. The members were: Captain Ernest M. McSorley, John J Poviach, Allen G Kalmon, Ransom E. Cundy, Mark A Thomas, Ralph G Walton, Joseph Mazes, David E Weiss, James A Pratt, Thomas E Edwards, Edward F Bindon, Nolan S Church, John H McCarthy, George J Holl, Oliver J Champeau, Fred J Beetcher, Michael F Armagost, Robert C Rafferty, Russell G Haskell, Thomas D Bentsen, John D Simmons, Karl A Peckol, William J Spengler, Paul M Rippa, Gordon Maclellan, Eugene O'Brien, Thomas D Borgeson, Bruce L Hudson, Blaine H Wilhelm. The ship's bell is rung 30 times, once for each member of the crew and one time for all mariners who have lost their life in service on Great Lakes mishaps. The only other artifact recovered, was its lifeboat which washed up on shore and is on display at the Marquette County Historical Society Museum, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot inspired popular interest in this vessel with a 1976 ballad, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." An excellent book compiled by Michael Schumacher, "Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald," was published in 2006.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 27 Jul 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6008
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Edmund Fitzgerald Shipwreck Memorial (unknown–unknown), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6008, citing Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, Paradise, Chippewa County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .