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Shipwreck lost 100 years discovered in Lake Superior

SS Henry B. Smith


From Associated Press

Almost 100 years after the Henry B. Smith freighter went down during a November storm in Lake Superior, a group of shipwreck hunters thinks it has found the ship - and much of it is largely intact.

The group found the wreck last month in about 535 feet of water off the shore of Marquette, Mich.

The group says it hasn't seen the name of the ship on the wreck yet, but all signs indicate it's the Smith, sitting amid a spilled load of iron ore.

"It's the most satisfying find of my shipwreck-hunting career," said Jerry Eliason of Cloquet, part of the group that has found many lost ships in recent years.

"It's a fantastic find," said maritime historian Frederick Stonehouse of Marquette, who has written about the Smith. "I'm excited at the opportunity to look at the video and see if we can learn the cause of the wreck, to write the final chapter of the ship."

The Henry B. Smith and its crew of 25 disappeared after sailing into the Great Lakes Storm of 1913.

The storm, one of the biggest on the lakes, wrecked more than a dozen ships and killed about 250 sailors. The Smith was safe in the Marquette harbor on Nov. 7 and 8, loading iron ore, but on the evening of Nov. 9, Capt. James Owen decided to leave port for Cleveland.

"The lake was still rolling, but there seemed to be a lull in the wind, the velocity having dropped to 32 mph," shipwreck expert and longtime University of Minnesota Duluth professor Julius Wolff wrote in "Lake Superior Shipwrecks."

"The gale ... should have blown itself out. But, this was no conventional storm. In taking his vessel out of the safety of Marquette Harbor, Captain James Owen sailed into eternity."


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