Schooner Lucerne

Schooner Lucerne (HMVLG)

Location: Ashland, WI 54806 Ashland County
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Country: United States of America
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N 46° 36.114', W 90° 51.947'

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Historic Shipwreck

— Wisconsin's Maritime Trails —

Type; Wooden Schooner, three-masted
Built: 1873, Parsons & Humble, Tonawanda, N.Y.
Sank: November 17, 1886
Length: 195' Beam: 34'
Cargo: Grain, coal, and iron ore
Depth: 20'
Lives Lost: 9
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

About 200 yards off Long Island, in 20 feet of water, lies the wreck of the Lucerne. In her day, the three-masted wooden schooner was one of the largest and sturdiest vessels on the Great Lakes.

The barometer indicated good weather when the Lucerne left Ashland the night of Nov. 15, 1886. The big ship was loaded with 1,256 tons of Gogebic ore and bound for Cleveland. It was supposed to be her last run of the season. It turned out to be her last run ever.

The Lucerne was well on her way along the hazardous coastline of Michigan's Upper Peninsula when a vicious northeast gale swept across the lake. The following day, she was spotted rolling and pitching under full sail off Ontonagon, Mich., about halfway to Copper Harbor at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Around dusk that day, in heavy snow squalls and gale-force winds, Captain George L. Lloyd gave the command to turn back toward the shelter of Chequamegon Bay.

She nearly made it. On the morning of November 19, 1886, the keeper of the La Pointe Lighthouse discovered the Lucerne's masts jutting out of the water near shore. Three bodies were lashed to the rigging and covered in ice. Captain Lloyd had been unable to find the entrance to Chequamegon Bay and dropped anchor, hoping to ride out the blinding storm. The men had climbed the masts to escape Lake Superior's freezing water. Two other bodies washed ashore. No one survived, and several crew members were never found.
Series This marker is part of the Wisconsin: Wisconsin's Maritime Trails series
Placed ByWisconsin Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 5th, 2014 at 11:21am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 663454 N 5163138
Decimal Degrees46.60190000, -90.86578333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 46° 36.114', W 90° 51.947'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds46° 36' 6.84" N, 90° 51' 56.82" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)715
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 9018 Tri-County Corridor, Ashland WI 54806, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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