Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

SS Edmund Fitzgerald

The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was a ship that sank in a storm on Lake Superior on November 10, 1975 17 miles from the entrance to Whitefish Bay. All 29 crew on board were killed and this was the last major ship lost on the Great Lakes.

The Fitz was a 729-foot-long ore freighter with a capacity of over 25,000 tons of ore (then, the largest ship on the Great Lakes). It was used to carry taconite to iron works in Detroit, Toledo and other ports. The ship went down with all 29 hands on the last trip before winter layup. The Fitzgerald had been traveling to the shelter of Whitefish Bay during an unusually strong storm. The next year a Navy submersible found the ship lying in two large pieces. An inquiry determined that the storm damaged hatches on the deck and flooded the ship.

The ship's bell was recovered from the wreck and is now in the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Whitefish Point near Paradise, Michigan. An anchor from the ship lost on an earlier trip was recovered from the Detroit River and is on display at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum in Detroit.

Gordon Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" is a song about the tragedy. It proved to be a hit which made the incident the most famous marine disaster in the history of Great Lakes shipping.