Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes


Type:		Wooden Propeller
Size: 		254.6 ft. x 35 ft. x 13 ft., 1470 gt.
Depth:		20 - 30 ft.
LAT/LON:	47.25'72"/88.17'93"
LORAN:		31824.5/46553.4

The wooden propeller Colorado was built in March of 1867 at Buffalo, NY and carried one of the first compound steeple engines ever placed in a Great Lakes steamer. She was already a veteran of the lakes when she ran aground on Sawtooth Reef on September 19, 1898, very near the wreck of the James Pickands. The captain claimed his navigation was hampered by smoky weather and magnetic anomalies caused by large amounts of iron ore that had been lightered by vessels stuck on Sawtooth.

The Colorado had been headed from Duluth to Port Huron with a cargo of flour when she stuck on the reef. Despite the assistance of the Portage Lake Lifesaving crew who lightered some of the flour, the Colorado stayed put. Four days later, a gale blew in and broke the Colorado's spine. She was abandoned in place and little salvage was conducted.

Today the Colorado is largely broken and scattered on the reef and her spine is very near that of the James Pickands which wrecked four years earlier. The Colorado's boiler is present as well as her spine and ribs. She lies fairly shallow atop the reef, but the water is generally very cold.

Divers occasionally claim to have seen the remains of the 65 ft. tug Fern which sank with five crew while salvaging the wreck on June 29th, 1901. She is reported to lie near the Colorado, but her remains have not been identified by any divers that I've talked to.

References: Keweenaw Shipwrecks by Fred Stonehouse, Munising Shipwrecks by Fred Stonehouse, Julius F. Wolff Jr.'s Lake Superior Shipwrecks, Shipwreck! by David Swayze, Divers Guide to Michigan by Steve Harrington, Milwaukee Sentinel, Herman G. Runge Collection - Milwaukee Public Library

Visit another excellent page on the Sawtooth Reef wrecks

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