Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes

City of Superior

Type:		Wooden Propeller
Length:		190 ft. x 29 ft. x 11 ft., 578 gt.
Depth:		15 - 35 ft.
Location:	DMS: 47.28'30" / 87.51'40"

On November 10, 1857, the wooden propeller City of Superior was wrecked at Copper Harbor, Michigan. She was upbound for Superior City with a load of barrelled copper that she had taken on at Portage Entry. At 3:00 AM, the ship was trying to find the entrance to Copper Harbor amid intermittant snow squalls when she slammed into the shoreline just off of the Copper Harbor light. Although her stern was still afloat, her bow was high on the rocks in only 3 ft of water.

A salvage attempt was immediately made by the steamer Michigan. After unloading the vessel, three 10 inch hawsers were broken when the Michigan tried to pull the Superior free. Later that day, a gale began blowing and soon after, the Superior broke in two amidships. Subsequent storms levelled her to the waterline.

Tragically, the City of Superior was only four months old and on her sixth voyage when lost. All major items were salvaged from her before she broke up. Her rudder was reportedly recovered by a group of divers in 1978. Today, small pieces of the Superior's hull remain for divers to inspect. Being close to shore, ice and wave action have totally broken what remains of her.

This wreck can be accessed from shore and lies just off of the Copper Harbor lighthouse. Despite the closeness to shore, the water is always very cold and visibility is about 40 ft. Beware of shore diving shallow wrecks in heavy seas, as the waves and currents can make maneuvering difficult.

References: Keweenaw Shipwrecks by Fred Stonehouse, Julius F. Wolff Jr.'s Lake Superior Shipwrecks, Divers Guide to Michigan by Steve Harrington.

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