Lake Erie shipwreck turns lake into research lab

By Erica Blake

Loaded with passengers and a cargo of liquor and wine, the Anthony Wayne had not traveled far on its voyage from the docks of Toledo to a port in Buffalo, when an inexplicable explosion occurred - one that sent it to the depths of Lake Erie.

Now, more than 150 years later and two years after it was first discovered deep beneath the Lake Erie waves, underwater archaeologists are studying the sidewheel steamboat in its final resting place.

Believed to be the oldest steamboat shipwreck in the lake, the Anthony Wayne is broken up and buried in the lake's muck.

It's cold down there - hovering at about 50 degrees - and the murky water makes visibility tough.

Despite the less-than-ideal research environment, archaeologists are working to preserve Great Lakes history by measuring and recording every detail of the vessel to re-create how it was built.

Great Lakes

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