- On 17/08/2012
- In Parks & Protected Sites
From Rochester Your News Now
You'd never know it was there from the shores of Seneca Lake: the treasure, and ruins, which lie beneath.
"Would have been nice, if someone had seen it, could have done a sketch,” said Jim Kennard.
Kennard has more than just sketches of the wreckage of "The Onondaga." He's seen it. Through sonar images, anyway.
"I've been searching for shipwrecks since the mid 70s. So, a long time."
Kennard and a partner located the old steamer while searching for sunken wrecks in the lake. They actually made the discovery two years ago, but confirming it took time.
"Because of the depth the image was really kind of fuzzy, and we didn't have the capability to get close to it."
The Onondaga was built in 1860; one of the largest steamers on the Finger Lakes.
It was used to ferry soldiers to the south end of Seneca Lake during the Civil War, and later converted into a passenger steamer. By 1898, the boat had been docked. One of its final uses was housing quarantined smallpox victims.
"After that, the townspeople in Geneva decided let's make a big deal out of this."
So to send the boat to a watery grave, the Onondaga was loaded with 500 pounds of dynamite, 300 pounds of blasting powder and a barrel of gasoline.
"So it was quite a spectacle."