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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Porter in Porter County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The J.D. Marshall

 
 
The J.D. Marshall Marker image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Light, May 19, 2006
1. The J.D. Marshall Marker
Inscription.  J.D. Marshall Propeller

This propeller is from the steam barge J.D. Marshall. It weights over 4,000 pounds! It was made in 1891 and has 4 blades. Modern boats use a 3-blade propeller for improved efficiency with decrease of horsepower.

The J.D. Marshall was 154-ft steamship that hauled lumber for twenty years. Then in 1911, the boat was sold and converted into a sand sucker. Sand suckers were used to pull wet sand from the lake bottom into their cargo holds. No one knows for sure what the Marshall was hauling the night of its last journey. Some records say that it was carrying 1,000 tons of sand. Other records say that it was carrying coal and pig iron.

This is what we know for sure: On the night of June 10, 1911, the J.D. Marshall was anchored near where the Beach Pavilion now stands. The hull began to leak. The crew patched the leak, and remained anchored for the night. During the early morning of June 11, a strong storm blew in. The parched area began to leak, and the crewmen went below to fix it. As storm waves continued to pound the J.D. Marshall, it ultimately capsized.

There were ten men
Picture on the marker image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Light, May 19, 2006
2. Picture on the marker
Click or scan to see
this page online
on board. Three were trapped below deck and died. Seven jumped or were thrown into the water. Five of them later climbed up on the overturned ship and waited to be rescued. The captain made it to shore, but the first mate did not.

Thousands of people visit the beach at Indiana Dunes State Park each summer. most of them are unaware of this tragic story and the remains of the J.D. Marshall, which now rest just north of the swimming beach, in about 30 feet of water.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical date for this entry is June 10, 1775.
 
Location. 41° 39.571′ N, 87° 3.005′ W. Marker is in Porter, Indiana, in Porter County. After entering the State Park, follow the signs to the nature center. You'll find the propeller at the trailhead, just west of the nature center, north of the parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Chesterton IN 46304, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Le Petit Fort (approx. 0.6 miles away); "Squall Causes Lake Disaster" (approx. 0.7 miles away); Dune Creek Watershed: What Makes It Special? (approx. 0.7 miles away); Dunes Hi-Way (approx. 1.3 miles away); Iron Brigade (approx. 1.7 miles away); Cowles Bog (approx. 2 miles away); Edwin Way Teale
The propeller from the J.D. Marshall image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Light, May 19, 2006
3. The propeller from the J.D. Marshall
(approx. 2.1 miles away); Made In Lafayette: An Experiment in Home Building (approx. 3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Porter.
 
Somewhere out there, the JD Marshall lies on the bottom image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Light, May 19, 2006
4. Somewhere out there, the JD Marshall lies on the bottom
This is a view north from the beach, where Trail Creek enters Lake Michigan. The Beachhouse is to the left and back of where I was standing.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on March 21, 2008, by Christopher Light of Valparaiso, Indiana. This page has been viewed 2,459 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 21, 2008, by Christopher Light of Valparaiso, Indiana. • Christopher Busta-Peck was the editor who published this page.

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May. 6, 2021