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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Two Rivers in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Steamer Vernon

Historic Shipwreck

 

óWisconsinís Maritime Trails ó

 
Steamer Vernon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 27, 2013
1. Steamer Vernon Marker
Inscription.
Type: packet steamer
Built: 1886, J.P. Smith, Chicago
Sank: October 29, 1887 Lives lost: 40 to 50
Length: 177í Beam: 26í
Cargo: passengers, pig iron, produce, fish, package freight, barrel staves
Propulsion: steam screw (propeller)
Depth of Wreckage: 200í

From the moment she was launched, onlookers predicted bad luck for the elegant packet steamer Vernon. She was fast and beautifully adorned, but a math error by here designer left her top-heavy and unstable. Bult for the Booth Fish Company of Chicago, the vessel regularly carried passengers and cargo between Michiganís Upper Peninsula and Chicago.

On Oct. 28, 1887, the Vernon departed Frankfort, Mich., bound for Lake Michiganís western shore. Onboard were 40 to 50 passengers and crew. About 10 p.m. a northeast gale brewed, forcing the ship to struggle throughout the night against the heavy, rolling seas. Immense waves finally swamped the vessel, flowing through open hatches and cutting the steamerís power. The helpless Vernon was no match for the stormís fury, and by 4 a.m. the following morning she had sank in deep water off Two Rivers, Wis.

Sole survivor Axel Stone claimed that the steamerís captain had over-loaded his ship, leaving her side-loading hatches only six inches above the water. Cargo overflowing from the
Steamer Vernon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 27, 2013
2. Steamer Vernon Marker
holds had blocked the forward hatches, and they could not be closed. These circumstances had left the Vernon dangerously susceptible to flooding – the likely cause of her sinking.

Today, the Vernon rests in 200 feet of water, about five miles due east of Rawley Point. Well-preserved by Lake Michiganís cold, fresh water, the shipwreck lists to starboard amid a field of cargo blown from her packed holds. Her forward gangway hatches are indeed open, just as Stone described.
 
Erected by Wisconsin Historical Society and University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Wisconsinís Maritime Trails marker series.
 
Location. 44° 9.185′ N, 87° 33.738′ W. Marker is in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, in Manitowoc County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Jackson Street and 22nd Street. Touch for map. Marker is located on the grounds of the Rogers Street Fishing Village historic site. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2102 Jackson Street, Two Rivers WI 54241, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Two Rivers' North Pier Lighthouse (a few steps from this marker); St. Luke Catholic Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); St. Luke Rectory
Steamer Vernon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 27, 2013
3. Steamer Vernon Marker
Marker is at the base of the lighthouse, next to the staircase.
(approx. 0.3 miles away); St. Luke Convent (approx. 0.3 miles away); St. Luke School (approx. 0.3 miles away); Schooner Rouse Simmons (approx. 0.4 miles away); Steamer Continental (approx. 0.4 miles away); Hamilton School (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Two Rivers.
 
Regarding Steamer Vernon. Additional information at:

http://www.rogersstreet.com/

http://www.maritimetrails.org/resource-details.php?Resource=124
 
Also see . . .
1. The Sinking of The Vernon, Lake Michigan, WI, USA, 29 Oct 1887. Donegal Genealogy Resources tells the story of the Vernon's sinking. (Submitted on September 21, 2013.) 

2. Steamer Vernon. Precision Diving.net presents on YouTube a 4+ minute video tour of the wreck of the Steamer Vernon. (Submitted on September 21, 2013.) 
 
Additional keywords. Shipwrecks
 
Categories. Waterways & Vessels
 
Steamer Vernon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 27, 2013
4. Steamer Vernon Marker
close up photo from upper left hand corner
Steamer Vernon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 27, 2013
5. Steamer Vernon Marker
close up of newspaper article from lower left hand corner
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 17, 2013, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 354 times since then and 43 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 17, 2013, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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