Muskegon lumber schooner's 120-year-old sinking honored during Saturday event

Oil lamps are part of the display in the "Unsolved Mysteries: The Shipwreck Thomas Hume" exhibit at the Hackley and Hume City Barn 
Photo Matt Gade

By Eric Gaertner - Muskegon Chronicle

The schooner named after one of Muskegon's best-known lumber barons will be remembered with a commemorative event on the 120th anniversary of the ship's tragic demise.

The Hackley & Hume lumber schooner Thomas Hume is set to have her lumber-shipping career and sinking in southern Lake Michigan honored Saturday with a special program at a recently created museum exhibit, premiere of a documentary film, a concert by Great Lakes folksinger Lee Murdock and the release of a new nonfiction book about the topic.

The exhibit, based on research dives conducted on the shipwreck originally discovered in 2005, is touted for its ability to solve a long-running mystery on how the schooner sank. The dive team's evidence-supported theory is that a storm caused the tragedy, ending more than a century of rumors and other theories concerning the May 21, 1891, disappearance of the three-masted, 132-foot schooner.

The Lakeshore Museum Center in Muskegon and Holland-based Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates partnered on the exhibit, “Unsolved Mysteries: The Shipwreck Thomas Hume,” which opened earlier this month in the City Barn at the Hackley & Hume Historic Site, 484 W. Webster.

The commemorative events begin at 3 p.m. Saturday at the exhibit. Those attending the event then move over to the Muskegon Museum of Art, 296 W. Webster, for the concert at 4:30 p.m., followed by the showing of the documentary film.

Valerie van Heest, a diver and author, was project director for the exhibit. She also co-authored the book with maritime historian William Lafferty and narrated the film with diver Craig Rich.

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Lake Michigan Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates Muskegon lumber schooner Hackley & Hume schooner Thomas Hume