By Dave McKinley - WGRZ.com
There are many shipwrecks beneath the waters of Lake Erie.
But a salvage outfit called Northeast Research LLC believes one sitting in 176 feet of water 20 miles off the coast of Dunkirk to be of significant historical interest.
"If it's the ship we believe it is, then it was built in 1797," said Northeast Research videographer Pat Clyne who has made several dives on what he now believes is the Caledonia, a warship once used by Admiral Perry in the war of 1812, and later refitted as a commercial schooner called the General Wayne.
"Even if it isn't, it's still a turn of the century built ship in absolutely perfect shape," Clyne told 2 On Your Side.
As they continue to pull up artifacts and do research to positively identify the vessel, they are also working on a plan to raise it and display it in a large aquarium on Buffalo's waterfront.
It would be a monumental task both technically and financially. "Absolutely. It's never been done before in North America," Clyne said.
While he says private funds will cover the millions needed to salvage the ship, he's been meeting with representatives of the federal, state and local governments to see if they're interested using grant money from the inner harbor project to bring it here and create what he insists will be an attraction to rival other national treasures like the Alamo and the Liberty Bell.