Near Belgium in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
The Steamer Niagara: The Fiery End
Her Saloon is superbly fitted and furnished and the accommodations for steerage passengers on the main deck are unsurpassed.
May 20, 1846
Between 1844-1857, “palace steamers” ruled Great Lakes transportation. About half of European immigrants bound for Wisconsin travelled by steamer. Large and luxurious, palace steamers carried passengers between major Great Lakes ports, and stopped at many Wisconsin coastal towns.
Built in 1846, the 245-foot Niagara embodied the cutting edge of maritime engineering. Capable of speeds up to 15 miles per hour, the Niagara could carry several hundred passengers and large cargos.
As larger, faster steamers eclipsed the Niagara, the ship was transferred to less prestigious routes.
The Niagrara spent its final season travelling between Collingwood, Ontario and Chicago.
At 2:30 pm, September 23, 1856, Niagara left Sheboygan for Port Washington. At 4:00 pm, fire broke out and moments later, the engine stopped, leaving the ship stranded. Facing smoke and flames, the passengers panicked.
Despite rescue efforts, at least 60 people died, most from drowning while frantically boarding lifeboats.
The Niagara fire remains one of Wisconsinís worst transportation disasters.
The Niagara is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Ship wreck artifacts in Wisconsin are protected by law.
Location. 43° 29.585′ N, 87° 47.527′ W. Marker is near Belgium, Wisconsin, in Ozaukee County. Marker is on County Road D half a mile east of Old Sauk Trail Road. Touch for map. Marker is located within Harrington Beach State Park, at the beach. The state park is a fee area. Marker is at or near this postal address: 531 County Road D, Belgium WI 53004, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Wisconsinís Luxembourgers (approx. 2.2 miles away); Early Dutch Settlers (approx. 5.4 miles away); Dutch Settlement (approx. 6.2 miles away); October 11th Memorial (approx. 6.2 miles away); St. Mary's Church (approx. 8 miles away); Port Washington Light Station (approx. 8 miles away); Propeller from the S.S. Badger (approx. 8.1 miles away); Schumacher Building (approx. 8.1 miles away).
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Also see . . .
1. Detailed Information for Niagara (1846). Wisconsin's Maritime Trails (Submitted on September 8, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. The New York Times New York 1856-09-26. Awful disaster on Lake Michigan. Burning of the steamer Niagara. Fifty or sixty lives reported lost. (Submitted on September 8, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
3. Niagara. Wisconsin's Great Lakes Shipwrecks (Submitted on September 8, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Additional keywords. Shipwrecks
Categories. • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 7, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 568 times since then and 42 times this year. Last updated on September 12, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 7, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.