A century later, Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society finds ‘Huronton’

Discovery of a steel bulk freighter the ‘Huronton’

The ship sank 100 years ago in Lake Superior.

The Great Lake Shipwreck Historical Society announced the discovery of the Huroton, a steel bulk freighter which sank 800 ft. into Lake Superior over 100 years ago.

The World War I era ship went down October 11, 1923. The air was think with fog and smoke from forest fires that day- which is why another bulk freighter Cetus‘ bow collided into the port of the Huronton.

“Back 100 years ago, it was the beginning stages of radar and identifying wrecks. When they were out in the fog, they should not have been sailing that day. Either ship should not have been sailing, ” Corey Adkins of GLSHS says. “There were 50 other vessels in Whitefish Bay waiting for the fog to dissipate.”

The crash created a huge hole in the Huronton and momentarily locked the ships together.

Luckily captain of the Cetus, acted quickly. He kept the engine moving forward which plugged the hole in the side of the Huronton.

Seventeen crew members escaped onto the Cetus with their lives.

However, the crew’s mascot, a bulldog, was left onboard the ship. The first mate went back on board the flooding ship, untied the dog, and carried it onboard the Cetus.

Everyone, even the dog, lived.

Before it sank, the Heronton served on the Great Lakes just before and through World War I.

“The countries need our help getting our supplies over to Europe,” says Adkins.

The ship played it’s part by traveling up and down the Eastern seaboard, giving coal to cities and ships that would bring the material abroad.

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical society has a 48ft research vessel with a tow fish sonar.

“Our director of marine operations, Darryl Martell, spends just about every good weather day he can in the summer, going back and forth on Lake Superior trying to find out where the shipwrecks are or are not,” explains Adkins.

A ping on the sonar allows them to narrow the search to find if it’s a shipwreck or not.

The historical society first thought it was two different freighters when they discovered the wreck.

Adkins says, “Just because of the length of it and where the fatal blow was.”