42 years later: Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald remembered

Edmund Fitzgerald
This underwater photo of the sunken SS Edmund Fitzgerald was taken by an unmanned submersible robot, as a research team investigates the wreck site 17 miles northwest of Whitefish Point, Mich., on August 24, 1989. (AP Photo)

WHITEFISH POINT, Mich. (WOOD) — Friday marks 42 years from one of the most famous deadly Great Lakes shipwrecks: the sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald.

>>Photos: The SS Edmund Fitzgerald – from inception to sinking

In 1958, it cost $8 million to build the freighter, which was the largest vessel on the Great Lakes until 1971. It was carrying 26,116 tons of taconite pellets when it went down Nov. 10, 1975 in Lake Superior, 17 miles from Whitefish Point. All 29 crewmen aboard died.

The sinking spawned a well-known song by Gordon Lightfoot, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

Every year on this grim anniversary, the Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point holds a service to honor the lives lost on the Edmund Fitzgerald. A bell tolls 29 times for each life lost during the disaster.

Approximately 240 ships have sunk in the Whitefish Point area since the first recorded sinking in 1816, according to Bill’s Blog.


Detroit Historical Society

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum