Friday, July 17 – Today is a very dreary and cold day but we needed to continue our sightseeing. We have all the right clothes for the day’s adventure.
We ventured out this morning from our campground in Newberry , Michigan, to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. The Museum is not just one building but the entire little village that surrounded the lighthouse. Lake Superior has earned the reputation of being the most treacherous of the Great Lakes.
The museum is located at historic Whitefish Point, the “graveyard” of the Great Lakes, and the site of Lake Superior's first lighthouse. It is the oldest active on Lake Superior. This important structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Also at the Point, is the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory where one can learn about bird species that migrate through the region.
The Light Station at Whitefish Point was constructed in 1861 at the order of President Lincoln. The exhibits show the life of a lightkeeper and his family at the turn of the century, circa 1890-1920.
Located here is the USCG Lifeboat Station. Established in 1923, the U.S. Coast Guard dedicated surfmen often risked their lives to assistant those in peril along Lake Superior's shipwreck coast. You can even spend the night at the crews quarters located next to the lighthouse.
At the Shipwreck Museum visitors can see maritime artifacts and exhibits telling the stories of sailors and ships that braved the waters of Superior and those lost to its menacing waves. The stories are fascinating.
The Edmund Fitzgerald, the largest freighter on the Great Lakes, lies twisted and broken just 17-miles from Whitefish Point, at a depth of 535 feet. In 1995, the bell of the Fitzgerald, weighing 195 pounds, was removed to honor the 29 men lost on November 10, 1975. It can be seen at the museum and serves not only as a tribute to the Fitzgerald's crew, but as a reminder of the 30,000 men, women and children lost to shipwrecks on the Great Lakes. A new bell inscribed with the 29 men, whose bodies still lie in the Fitzgerald, was attached to the wreckage as a memorial to the lost souls. There is a short film on the history of the Edmund Fitzgerald, the most famous of the over 6000 ships lost on the Great Lakes, and the raising of the bell.
In one building is a Lego replica of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Here is a link to the famous song that Gordon Lightfoot wrote and sang about the Edmund Fitzgerald. The page explains why he calls Lake Superior….Gitche Gumee 'never gives up her dead.'" In 2010, Lightfoot changed one line in the lyrics of the song as a result of recent findings that it was waves and not crew error that lead to the shipwreck. He always felt bad that the line might have implied that the crew was at fault, and he was very happy that new evidence absolved them.Excellent read.
It was neat this morning in the misting rain and fog that the Coast Guard Station was sounding the fog horn every 30 seconds to warn ships. The sound was very haunting with the fog.
We again thought this was a fantastic museum and highly recommend it. There is so much to see. Allow a couple of hours to enjoy the entire area.
Our next stop was the beach of Whitefish Point where we collected a bag of Petoskey Stones from the shoreline. Not sure that is what the locals call these stones, but it was the name Paul's fishing gang always referred to them do mostly to the fact that they first saw these smooth stones on the beach in Petoskey.
Paul recalls skipping these smooth flat stones on the water with his fishing buddies seeing who could make them skip over the water the most times.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y’all back real soon. Have a great day!