With changing water levels and shifting sands of erosion along the Lake Michigan shoreline we all continue to experience “rediscovery” as shoreline explorers.
I took these photos on the evening of Saturday November 30, 2019 wading into the water for a closer look.
My imagination pictures a 2-masted schooner from the 1880’s about 90′ in length and 20 some feet wide. A proud and stout wooden vessel of beams and iron. A flat-bottomed hull (visible in the water below) an ideal sailing vessel for visiting shallow harbors with a draft of only 5 to 7 feet. At 120 gross tons and economical to operate, shuttling lumber to Chicago from West Michigan she was subject to the November gales without the benefit of weather forecasting like we have today. But alas no such drama. The wreck is a scow (barge) being towed that sank south of Muskegon while transporting a steam crane in November of 1936. Time and erosion has uncovered the mishap and…..the rest is history.
I waded back into the water (Lake Michigan) on December 4 just before sunset. We now know (thanks to experts on the subject) the archaeological piece of maritime history “shipwreck” exposed by erosion near my home is that of a flat-bottomed barge which some believe possibly sank in 1936 and may have been built in the late 1800’s. The waves are slamming it and the debris has moved along the shore since I last visited on November 30. I am hoping it is soon covered by sand again and preserved as opposed to being splintered apart by the force of the waves. (see photos at the bottom of the photo gallery.)
(You can click on the pictures in the gallery below to enlarge them.)