The Great Lakes of North America have played a significant role in forming communities in both Canada and the United States. The lakes’ roles extend from establishing towns along their shores to shipping important goods to and from major trading posts.
Like all bodies of water, the Five Great Lakes have their own charms and temperaments. Over time, these bodies of water have claimed from 6,000 to 25,000 sea vessels and thousands of lives. Most of these wrecks were either lost at sea or left to decay in their waters. Each of these shipwrecks has a heartbreaking yet fascinating story behind the sinking.
Lake Huron is no exception. One deadly storm in particular that passed over the Great Lakes hit Huron the hardest. Starting on November 9, 1913, 16 hours of relentless extreme weather conditions ripped over Lake Huron. Ten ships were lost at sea and 235 people lost their lives.
Some of the most notable shipwrecks that took place at Lake Huron include many from that fateful day. While that wasn’t the only time the lake had dangerous waters, most of the following wrecks come from the great storm of 1913:
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Charles S. Price
One of the casualties of the 1913, storm was a huge steel freighter named Charles S. Price. Most people considered Charles S. Price an especially fascinating Great Lakes wreck and is located near Lexington Harbor in Michigan. Discovered in the 1960s, the vessel was found upside down; the stern dipped so far down it’s difficult to determine the true full length of the vessel.
The Charles S. Price wreckage is a famous dive spot in the Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserves. Her bow is visible at 30 feet and its propeller is reachable at about 47 feet. Her hull is immersed at 64 feet under water. In its early discovery, the wreck was believed to the SS Regina but was later correctly identified as the Price.
For more than 50 years, the SS Regina was lost in Lake Huron’s deep waters. She was also a victim of the Great Lakes Storm of 1913 and was left undiscovered for decades until found in 1986. The SS Regina was discovered upside-down at a depth of 80 feet. To this day, the wreck remains intact and is a popular destination for divers of all skill levels.
The SS Regina was heading toward Port Huron in Michigan after encountering that raging storm near Pointe aux Barques. Unfortunately, she ripped her sides on shoal and began sinking. Upon reaching Lexington, the crew anchored the vessel and then evacuated but the captain remained on board. A mere 35 minutes after dropping anchor, the SS Regina succumbed to the raging water and capsized. Tragically, the crew was not able to escape the devastating storm after they abandoned ship.
Mary Alice B.
Mary Alice B is perhaps the most controversial shipwreck in Lake Huron. Found in 1992, this Depression-era tugboat rests 92 feet under water in the Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve and it immediately become a favorite diving spot because of its good condition. Many parts of the Mary Alice B are still intact and divers can still access most of the ship.
In 1962, another private owner took charge of the Mary Alice B and continued to sail until September 5, 1975. The boat was being tugged when it sank for seemingly no reason. When located several years later, explorers found open valves, which suggests the ship was sunk on purpose. However, the owner refuted all accusations.
SS John A. McGean
The American Ship Building Company constructed the SS John A. McGean in 1908 at their shipyard in Lorain, Ohio. It was one of the finest steamships to sail the Great Lakes with a length of 432 feet, its beam measuring 52 feet across, and had a draft of 28 feet. Still, even with a massive weight of 5,100 tons, the ship was no match for the Great Lakes Storm of 1913.
She was last seen off Tawas Point Lighthouse on November 7, 1913, and a few days later sank in Lake Huron along with her 23 crew members. The wreck was discovered in 1985 near Port Hope Michigan where it was determined she suffered damage from large waves that led to her sinking.
Melancthon Simpson built the PS Waubuno in 1865 at Port Robinson; it was a side-wheel paddle steamer. Waubuno came from Algonquin word which means “Sorcerer” or “Black Magician”. The J & W Beatty and Company owned the steamer which carried passengers and freight between Collingwood and Parry Soundin for 10 years from 1860 to 1870.
On the night of November 22, 1879, it sank during a ferocious gale but the exact reason why remains unknown. Nevertheless, much of this shipwreck’s popularity stems from the fact that accessing it is a relatively easy dive.
If you have an interest in all things Lake Huron, the Great Lakes and everything Michigan has to offer, our Lake Life t-shirt is just for you!