The Doty at the Soo Locks 1896 - Andrew Young photo courtesy of the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes.
A Lake Michigan shipwreck was just discovered off the shores of Milwaukee after 112 years under the water. The L.R. Doty was the largest wooden ship still missing on Lake Michigan, with an overall length of 300 feet. She was bound from South Chicago to Midland, Ontario with a cargo of corn and the four-masted schooner Olive Jeanette in tow when she was struck by a tremendous storm several miles north of Milwaukee. Waves reportedly reached 30 ft, with 70 mph winds. The Olive Jeanette was severely damaged, but survived the storm. The Doty however, was never seen again.
On June 16, 2010 a group of explorers led by marine historian Brendon Baillod and charter captain Jitka Hanakova relocated the site, which had been snagged by a commercial fish tug in 1991, nearly 20 miles off Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Technical divers, including John Janzen, John Scoles, Tracy Xelowski, Jitka Hanakova, Lubo Valuch and Ron Benson descended to the site in over 300 ft of water and filmed the wreck extensively. Marine historians Brendon Baillod and Peter Scotland provided surface support. Video reveals that the ship is upright and intact with the remains of her corn cargo still present in her hold. She is in an amazing state of preservation due to the cold, fresh water and extreme depth.
To learn more about the L.R. Doty, check out this web site.
Recent news articles appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and National Public Radio.
To learn more about Wisconsin shipwrecks, visit Wisconsin Sea Grant's Shipwrecks site.