Type: Wooden Passenger Steamer Length: 80.8 x 26.4 x 7.4 ft., 144 gt., 100 nt. Depth: 3 - 10 ft. Location: South Entry LORAN: 31948.4 / 46743.0 LON/LAT: 46.58'98" / 88.25'84"
The excursion steamer International was well known to 1910 Houghton/Hancock residents. She was then the passenger steamer White City which was used to ferry people back and forth to the popular White City amusement park at the present day South Entry. Today, the amusement park, like the International, lies in ruins and are known only through history books.
The International was lost November 2, 1913 in a fire which burned her down to her hull and left her lying on the bottom of the lake just off the old White City dock. The fire started late at night and made significant headway before it was discovered. Efforts to put it out were too little too late and the vessel was scuttled to stop her from smoldering. No one was on board when the fire started and there were no injuries. She was owned by M.J. Carroll of Houghton and had been purchased some years earlier from Charles Ripley in Sault Ste. Marie where she had been used as a ferry since she was new. She was brought to Houghton specifically for use as a ferry between Houghton, Lake Linden and the White City amusement park.
The Steamer International earlier in her career
The International had been built at Buffalo, New York in 1889 for Charles Ripley of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Her high pressure, non condensing engine was built in 1889 at Cleveland, Ohio by the Globe Iron Works and had a 20 inch cylinder with a 20 inch stroke. Her fire box boiler was 7.5 ft. deep and 13 ft. long. She was a double decked vessel with open air galleries. Considerable superstructure was added to the vessel after she was brought to the Keweenaw.
Today, the remains of the International lie totally broken and scattered just off the old White City dock. For years, the relatively intact remains of a large scow barge believed to be the Pilgrim were mistaken for those of the International. The International's remains however, lie in a debris field about 20 yards north of the barge. They are badly burned and scattered with miscellaneous engine parts, machinery and wooden members littering the area. There are many small artifacts in the shallow debris field which are interesting to inspect, but the area is quite swampy and easily stirred up. Visibility is often very poor in the area and early and late season dives are best. The International is best reached by boat from Houghton or Hancock, as the drive to the South Entry is longer than the boat ride. She is a nice adjuct dive to the Alfred P. Wright which is further out of the channel. The large barge just off the White City boat launch is also quite interesting to inspect, is often buoyed, and is largely intact.. She is thought to be the barge Pilgrim, which was often towed by the International to bring excursionists to White City. She may also have been one of the barges used in the construction of the South Entry Breakwall.
References: Keweenaw Shipwrecks by Fred Stonehouse, Julius F. Wolff Jr.'s Lake Superior Shipwrecks, White City by Clarence Monette, the Dave Swayze Wrecklist, Michigan Technological University Archives, Randy Beebe, Milwaukee Public Library - Herman Runge Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes - Bowling Green State University