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Detroit in Wayne County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald

 
 
<i>S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald</i> Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2018
1. S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald Marker
Inscription. The S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald known as one of the largest ships on the Great Lakes, passed by this location transporting taconite iron ore to ports in Detroit, Toledo and beyond.

November 10, 2015 marked 40 years since this 729-foot steamer succumbed to a severe storm on Lake Superior taking with her 29 crewmen. Tragically, the cause of her loss remains a mystery to this day. The complete story of the "Fitz", as she came to be known, including the map charting her final course and the U.S. Coast Guard audio of their unsuccessful search efforts is featured inside the Dossin Great Lakes Museum.

The Beginning
The keel of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald was laid on August 7, 1957 at the Great Lakes Engineering Works shipyard in River Rouge Michigan, nine miles down the Detroit River from Belle Isle. Eleven months later, the completed hull was launched, and the “Fitz” became the known as the Queen of the Lakes.

The ship was named for the president of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Northwestern owned the vessel and leased it to the Columbia Transportation Division of the Oglebay Norton Company in Cleveland, Ohio. The ship carried the company's “C-in-a-Star” logo prominently on its smoke stack.

The End
On
Marker detail: <i>S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald</i> Forward Cabins <br>c. 1960 image. Click for full size.
Detroit Historical Society Collection
2. Marker detail: S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald Forward Cabins
c. 1960
November 10, 1975, the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald was carrying 26,116 tons of taconite ore pellets from Superior, Wisconsin to Detroit. It was the vessel's last run of the year, and Captain Ernest McSorley was to retire at the end of the trip. The ship sailed into a storm that came from several directions and met over Lake Superior. Winds of over 70 miles-per-hour generated 25 foot waves.

There are several theories about what caused the ship to sink. What is known for sure is that at about 7:10 pm, the ship sailed into a snow squall and was never seen again. Other vessels, including the S.S. William Clay Ford and U.S. Coast Guard rescue units, searched the area for many hours, but only recovered debris.

The Anchor
One evening in November 1974, enroute downriver, the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald dropped anchor in the Detroit River, just west of Belle Isle. Since the navigational buoys had been removed for the season, the skipper decided to wait until daylight before proceeding to Toledo. The next morning, when crewmen pulled the anchor chains aboard, the starboard bow anchor remained behind, its master link having failed.

In July 1992, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum and members of the Detroit maritime community came together to recover this six ton artifact. It's placement outside the museum is only a short distance from where
Marker detail: ”Edmund Fitzgerald”, Artist: Greg Tisdale, 1985 image. Click for full size.
Detroit Historical Society Collection
3. Marker detail: ”Edmund Fitzgerald”, Artist: Greg Tisdale, 1985
the anchor was recovered and serves as a reminder and lasting tribute to the "Mighty Fitz", the crew and to all the men and women who have lost their lives on the Great Lakes.

The Detroit Historical Society gratefully acknowledges the A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap Fund at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan for its support of the Dossin Great Lakes Museum.
 
Erected by Dossin Great Lakes Museum.
 
Location. 42° 20.08′ N, 82° 59.106′ W. Marker is in Detroit, Michigan, in Wayne County. Marker is on The Strand west of Inselruhe Avenue, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is located on the grounds of the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, near the driveway on the east side of the building. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 The Strand, Detroit MI 48207, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Perry's Victory (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald (within shouting distance of this marker); Alpheus S. Williams (approx. 0.3 miles away); Detroit Spanish American War Monument (approx. 0.3 miles away); Police Radio Dispatch
<i>S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald</i> Marker (<i>tall view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2018
4. S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald Marker (tall view)
(approx. 0.4 miles away); Ransom Eli Olds (approx. half a mile away); Grand Army of the Republic (approx. half a mile away); The Siege of Detroit 1763 (approx. half a mile away in Canada). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Detroit.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald
 
Also see . . .
1. S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald Online. November is referred to as "The Month of Storms" on the Great Lakes. The storm that hit when the Fitzgerald went down was one of the biggest, and the worst that Captain McSorley said he had ever seen. In the Fitzgerald's storm, winds as fast as 45 knots were reported, with waves as high as thirty feet. (Submitted on July 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Dossin Great Lakes Museum: The S.S. William Clay Ford Exhibit. The S.S. William Clay Ford, a Great Lakes freighter, was scrapped in 1987 and its pilot house was brought to the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. The S.S. William Clay Ford is best known for its brave crew. During a gale-force storm on November 10, 1975, the S.S. William Clay Ford left the safe harbor of Whitefish Point under the command of Captain Donald Erickson in search of survivors from the doomed S.S.
<i>S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald</i> Anchor (<i>view from marker; Dossin Great Lakes Museum behind</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2018
5. S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald Anchor (view from marker; Dossin Great Lakes Museum behind)
Edmund Fitzgerald
. (Submitted on July 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. The Fateful Journey. The final voyage of the Edmund Fitzgerald began November 9, 1975 at the Burlington Northern Railroad Dock No.1, Superior, Wisconsin. Captain Ernest M. McSorley had loaded her with 26,116 long tons of taconite pellets, made of processed iron ore, heated and rolled into marble-size balls. Departing Superior about 2:30 pm, she was soon joined by the Arthur M. Anderson, which had departed Two Harbors, Minnesota under Captain Bernie Cooper. The two ships were in radio contact. The Fitzgerald being the faster took the lead, with the distance between the vessels ranging from 10 to 15 miles. (Submitted on July 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. DisastersIndustry & CommerceNotable EventsWaterways & Vessels
 
<i>S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald</i> anchor & related markers (<i>this marker visible right of anchor</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2018
6. S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald anchor & related markers (this marker visible right of anchor)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 31, 2018. This page originally submitted on July 27, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 119 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 27, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   6. submitted on July 27, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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