Shipwreck Society Finds Vessel at Bottom of Lake Superior after 130 Years

The Atlanta Shipwreck

(Whitefish, MI)- So technically, this story comes out of Michigan, but Lake Superior is such a big part of Minnesota, that we just had to include it!

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS) is excited to announce the discovery of the 172-foot schooner-barge Atlanta. The Atlanta was found 35 miles off Deer Park, Mich., in 650 feet of water in Lake Superior.

Shipwreck hunting can be tedious. More than 2,500 miles of Lake Superior were mapped in the summer of 2021 by Marine Sonic Technology in partnership with the GLSHS using Side Scan Sonar-Marine Sonic Technology.

The Atlanta

The Atlanta sank on May 4, 1891. It was upbound with a load of coal in tow of the steamer Wilhelm when both vessels got caught in a northwest gale. The storm was too much for the towline which snapped, and with no sails, the Atlanta was soon at the mercy of the lake, and the crew took to the lifeboat. They pulled at the oars for several hours and eventually came within site of the Crisp Point Life-Saving Station. While attempting to land their small boat near the station, it overturned and only two of the crew made it safely to the beach.

Because of its time in the frigid depths of Lake Superior, the Atlanta is a wonderfully preserved shipwreck. “It is rare that we find a shipwreck that so clearly announces what it is and the name-board of the Atlanta really stands out,” said Bruce Lynn, Executive Director of the GLSHS. “It is truly ornate, and still beautiful after 130 years on the bottom of Lake Superior.”

Director of Marine Operations, Darryl Ertel for the GLSHS said. “No one has to ask where the Atlanta is anymore.” The survivors said all three masts broke off during the storm, and video from an ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) proves, all three masts broke off flush with the deck and are nowhere to be found.