Today is the 10th of November, and this date marks the worst disaster in Great Lakes maritime history.
On the 10th of November, 1975, exactly 35 years ago, the SS-Edmund Fitzgerald, along with her entire crew of 29 men, was dragged down into the depths of the Lake Superior by a brutal November storm.
Launched on June 8, 1958, the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, nicknamed “Mighty Fitz”, was an American Great Lakes frieghter which at 729 feet in length, and 75 feet in width, was the largest boats on the great lakes at the time. The Edmund Fitzgerald quietly disappeared from the radar on Nov. 10, 1975, during a brutal storm on Lake Superior. No distress signals were received from the doomed ship although it had reported some difficulties before the accident.
The entire crew of 29 people perished in the disaster. No bodies were ever recovered. When the wreck was found, 17 miles north-northwest of Whitefish Point, Michigan, it was discovered that the Fitzgerald had broken in two. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS) conducted three underwater expeditions to locate the wreck in 1989, 1994, and 1995 at the special request of the crew’s surviving families.
Edmund Fitzgerald's 200 lb. bronze bell was recovered on July 4, 1995. The bell is now on display in the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum as a memorial to her lost crew. Vigils and memorial services will be held throughout the Great Lakes region (especially Whitefish Point) today to honor the 35th anniversary of the tragic sinking. The legend of Edmund Fitzgerald remains shrouded in mystery to this day. Many documentaries, programs and films have been made about it’s controversial sinking.
The sinking of the great freighter was also the inspiration behind Canadian folksinger, Gordon Lightfoot's 1976 song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” Click on the link below to see the lyrics of the famous song: