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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lexington in Sanilac County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Sport

 
 
A Photo of this Marker is Wanted image. Click for full size.
1. A Photo of this Marker is Wanted
A number of shipwreck divers have posed for photographs at this marker before it was damaged and removed. We would like to show one of those photographs on this page.
Inscription.  The tug Sport, one of the nation’s earliest steel-hulled vessels, was built for lumber and steel entrepreneur Eber Brock Ward in 1873 by the Wyandotte Iron Ship Building Works in Wyandotte, Michigan. For forty-seven years the tug towed, salvaged, and aided vessels in distress. Frank E. Kirby designed the tug and later became a nationally known naval architect recognized for designing large, elegant sidewheel passenger steamers and ice-breaking car ferries, such as Chief Wawatam. In 1913 Sport was purchased by Captain Robert Thompson of Port Huron.

Sport’s final voyage began on the afternoon of December 13, 1920, when it departed Port Huron bound for Harbor Beach. The tug fought heavy seas and by 6:00 p.m. was taking on more water than the pumps could handle. Near Lexington, the seasick fire-tender crawled to his bunk. The unattended fire died, the boat lost steam, and the pumps quit. The six-man crew abandoned ship in a lifeboat around 11:00 p.m. when waves crashed over the deck. The crew washed ashore near Lexington, cold and exhausted but alive. Sport sank and was not discovered until 1987.
 
Erected
The Tugboat <i>Sport</i> image. Click for full size.
Source: Old Ship Builder via Wikimedia Commons, November 30, 1899
2. The Tugboat Sport
Click or scan to see
this page online
1992 by Bureau of History, Michigan Department of State. (Marker Number 636.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical date for this entry is December 13, 1920.
 
Location. Marker has been permanently removed. It was located near 43° 16′ N, 82° 27.9′ W. Marker was in Lexington, Michigan, in Sanilac County. It was 3 miles offshore at the bottom of Lake Huron, at the shipwreck site in the Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Lexington MI 48450, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. Patrick J. Tierney (approx. 3.1 miles away); Old Town Hall and Masonic Temple (approx. 3.3 miles away); Trinity Church (approx. 3.3 miles away); Sanilac County Sesquicentennial Celebration (approx. 3.3 miles away); a different marker also named Trinity Church (approx. 7.9 miles away); Croswell's Swinging Bridge (approx. 8 miles away); The Great Storm of 1913 (approx. 10.2 miles away); Loop-Harrison House (approx. 11.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington.
 
More about this marker. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Michigan History Center’s website for historical markers states,
In 1992, the marker was placed on the lake bottom at the Tug Sport shipwreck site. In 1996, the marker was refinished (damaged by water & zebra mussels). In 2003, the marker was damaged (possibly by an anchor), it was then removed and salvaged.

 
Regarding Sport. The “Sport (tug) Shipwreck Site” is listed in the National Register of Historic Places under Registration Number 92001503.
 
Also see . . .  Wikipedia entry. Excerpt:
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December 13, 1920, the Sport set out from Port Huron, bound for Harbor Beach. It encountered a heavy gale, and by 6:00 pm was taking on more water than could be pumped out. The seasick and exhausted firetender returned to his bunk, and the boat lost steam, killing the pumps. The crew abandoned ship at about 11:00 pm, and washed ashore near Lexington, still alive.

The wreck of the Sport was discovered in 1987. In 1992, the Sport became the first Michigan shipwreck with her own Michigan Historical Marker placed on her. The wreck is now part of the Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve, and popular with divers. The marker was damaged and removed in 2002.
(Submitted on June 7, 2021.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 7, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 35 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 7, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A photograph of this marker from when it was in existence • Can you help?

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Jun. 15, 2021