Type: Wooden steam yacht Length: 64.6 x 12.4 x 6.1 ft., 29.91 gt., later 40 gt. Depth: 5 - 15 ft. Location: See inset map
Local Houghton/Hancock lore has it that a vessel named Morgan is one of the abandoned hulls in the canal. Research reveals that a yacht named the Morgan was a popular area vessel around the turn of the century. Her enrollment papers from the Port of Marquette indicate that she was owned by a Mr. Hebard, likely the wealthy owner of the large lumber operation at Pequaming. The ship was mastered by a Captain Goodell and was sold around 1900. She was later rebuilt to a much larger tonnage about 1904. According to US Merchant Vessels listings she was abandoned around 1928, probably due to age and poor hull condition. She now sits rest just offshore on the south side of the Keweenaw Waterway just west of Michigan Technological University. She should not be confused with the much larger hull directly off the Michigan Tech power plant which is actually visible above the water.
The Morgan was built in 1891 at Rome, New York and was sailed directly to Marquette where she was enrolled with official number was 92517. She was built as a luxury steam yacht, but appears to have been used as a passenger or work vessel in her later years.
During a Summer 1997 measurement of hulls in the Portage Canal, the probable hull of the Morgan was located. She is most likely the hull just beneath the surface about 30 yards east of the Super 8 Motel. She is shown on the NOAA charts and is about 50 ft. from shore. Hull measurements indicated a light timbered steamer hull of roughly 65 ft. in length. Her hull is partially intact with her decks and superstructure collapsed. Her engines and machinery have been salvaged, but her wooden remains are considerable. Her rudder lies at the west end of the wreck very near a pair of power cables which traverse the canal and run through a portion of the wreck. Her propeller has been removed and a large wooden plug has been placed in the shaft entrance. There are numerous points of interest on this wreck including a good deal of metalwork.
This is a very shallow wreck. Care must be taken in the area not to hit her gunwale with your outdrive. She sits right on the edge of the canal on somewhat of an angle and her starboard rail is only a few feet under water. Divers will find the visibility to be 5 - 10 feet, but the silt is very easily stirred up. Visibility will be considerably better in the Spring and Fall. Because the wreck is in the canal she has not been broken up by ice and waves like wrecks in Lake Superior. The water is also considerably warmer. Although this wreck is not technically in the Keweenaw Underwater Preserve, it is still illegal to remove anything from it under Michigan law. She is considered an archival possession of the State and should be treated as such. Divers who visit this site will also want to visit the wrecks of the Sea Fox, "Mediator" and Sailor Boy which are in the area.
References: US Merchant Vessels, Port of Marquette Vessel Enrollments, NOAA Chart #14972 (Inset), Randolph Beebe and Brendon Baillod