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Ship graveyard: Holds some of the world’s best-preserved shipwrecks

Neil Patrick

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve is a United States National Marine Sanctuary on Lake Huron, within the northeastern region of the U.S. state of Michigan.

It protects an estimated 116 historically significant shipwrecks ranging from nineteenth century wooden side-wheelers to twentieth century steel-hulled steamers.

There are a great many wrecks in the sanctuary, and their preservation and protection is a concern for national policy makers. The landward boundary of the sanctuary extends from the western boundary of Presque Isle County to the southern boundary of Alcona County. The sanctuary extends east from the lake’s shore to the international border.

All photos: NOAA’s National Ocean Service/Flickr

Bound for Chicago with a load of coal,The LUCINDA VAN VALKENBURG was struck by the iron propeller Lehigh about two miles northeast of Thunder Bay Island.

Bound for Chicago with a load of coal, The Lucinda Van Valkenburg was struck by the iron propeller Lehigh about two miles northeast of Thunder Bay Island.

 

Bow of the EB Allen

Bow of the EB Allen

 

Interior of Monrovia.

Interior of Monrovia. Built in Scotland in 1943, it only had a short 16 years on the water. On a foggy day in 1953, the Monrovia was rammed by a freighter.

 

The JAMES DAVIDSON was another vessel lost to the ship trap that is Thunder Bay Island.

The James Davidson was another vessel lost to the ship trap that is Thunder Bay Island

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration established Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve in 2000. It became the thirteenth overall and first on the Great Lakes. The original boundaries followed that of Alpena County to 83 degrees west longitude totaling 448-square-mile (1,160 km2). In 2014 it was expanded to 4,300-square-mile (11,000 km2). The marine sanctuary contains many shipwrecks, such as the hull of package freighter SS Pewabic.

The MONOHANSETT was one of the Great Lakes' many November shipwrecks. Its 35 year career ended in November 1907. NOAA's National Ocean Service

The Monohansett was one of the Great Lakes’ many November shipwrecks. Its 35 year career ended in November 1907. NOAA’s National Ocean Service

 

The typo which sank in 1899.

The Typo which sank in 1899.

Tied to the sanctuary is the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. The museum, located in Alpena on the Thunder Bay River, features exhibits about local shipwrecks and the Great Lakes, an auditorium, an archaeological conservation lab, and education areas.