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The Iroquoian tribe who inhabited the shores of the lake called it “Erige” which means “cat” because of its unpredictable and violent nature. And true to its name, Lake Erie has vicious and unforgiving storms. It has claimed hundreds of vessels and thousands of people lost their lives while crossing Lake Erie’s treacherous water. Here are some of the most notorious shipwrecks in Lake Erie:


C.B. Lockwood

How can a ship sink twice? Impossible it may seem but that exactly what happened to CB Lockwood? The 285-foot wooden steamer was sailing from Duluth, Minnesota to Buffalo New York when it sank.  The vessel encountered a vicious storm on October 13, 1902, and sank east of Cleveland, Ohio just 13 miles out of Fairpoint Harbor.  After several days, it was found and marked with buoys, and then a peculiar thing happened. The Lockwood disappeared again.

Researchers had a hard time finding the exact location of the wreck and baffled them for decades. After several years, it was discovered that the ship sank again into a glacier-formed valley beneath the waters of Lake Erie.


Light Vessel 82    

The $50,000 steel lightship was built in Muskegon, Michigan used a lighthouse service in summer of 1912.  During this early time, LV 82 served as a temporary lightship vessel in the Buffalo Harbor, one of the busiest ports in the world at that time.

Most of the sea vessel in Buffalo followed a storm warning of the newly enforced Weather Bureau. LV 82 was last seen anchored near the shores of Buffalo Harbor and Point Abino before it went missing. At the peak of the storm, the LV 82 was lost at sea with Captain Hugh Williams and his five crews. LV 82, was the first and last lightship lost on Lake Erie.

The following year, LV 82 was found after the ice broke up and the water started to flow towards Niagara River. Another vessel named Surveyor discovered the shipwreck 62 feet underwater just two miles from their station. Local authorities organized retrieval operations to refloat and towed the wreckage to Detroit.  It was then rebuilt and functioned as a relief light-ship but later replaced by Point Abino Lighthouse in Canada in 1918.



Measuring 267 feet, a beam expanding 33 feet, a depth of 12.5 feet and weighing about 1,115 tons, Atlantic was one of the biggest vessels at the time. The steamboat was used as service for people going between Buffalo, New York and Detroit, Michigan.  Atlantic had 85 staterooms, could fit 300 passengers, and had  top speed of 16 and a half hours in each trip.

E.B Ward of Detroit and S. Ward of St. Clair, Michigan owned the Atlantic and operated by Michigan Central Railroad.

On August 20, 1852, it collided with another steamer named Ogdensburg. The disaster claimed more than 150 lives, possibly as many as 300 lives and ranks as the fifth worst tragedy in the history of the Great Lakes.


SS G. P. Griffith

On June 17, 1850, the passenger steamer, SS G. P. Griffith burned and sank on Lake Erie. The disaster claimed 241 to 289 lives and remains as the third greatest loss of life on the Great Lakes. Of its 326 passengers, many were immigrants from Ireland, England, Germany, and Scandinavia. It made its last stops at Erie, Pennsylvania and Fairport, Ohio before heading out to Cleveland.

The ship’s wheelman named Richard Mann reported sparks shooting in the ship’s smokestacks around 4 am on June 17.  Captain C.C. Roby ordered the ship’s course towards the shore, the course helped fanned the flamed, pushing passengers forward. After some time, the crew abandoned their posts but the momentum carried the ship towards a sandbar. The flames immediately burned down the ship burning everyone left aboard.


Lake Erie Size and Information

Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake of the Great Lakes in North America. It measures at about 92 by 388 kilometers and its borders are shared by Canada and the US. The province of Ontario and the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan are some of the major areas enjoying the economic and biological benefits of Lake Erie.

The lake is the shallowest and the smallest of all the Great Lakes with 484 cubic kilometers of water in its southernmost tip. Because of this, Lake Erie has the shortest water retention time of 2.6 years. The lake sits 173 meters (569 feet) above sea level and has a depth of 64 meters. It ranks as the 13th largest lake in the world in terms of its surface area of 25,667 square kilometers.

With rich history and so many things to do in the region, it makes sense that you’d be interested in the Great Lakes. Show of your love of these amazing bodies of water with a Great Lakes Girl bag.