City of Ashland (shipwreck)

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Name: City of Ashland
Owner: The Superior Lumber Company, of Ashland
Port of registry: Flag of the United States.svg United States
Laid down: August 8, 1887
Launched: 1883
Fate: Shipwrecked in Chequamegon Bay
Status: Wreckage remains at the site
General characteristics
Type: Steamboat
Tonnage: 84.62 tons
Length: 90 feet (27 m)
Beam: 20 feet
Depth: 7 feet
Depth of hold: 21 feet
Propulsion: Sidewheel

The City of Ashland was a steamboat that sank in Lake Superior off the coast of Ashland, Wisconsin, in Chequamegon Bay.[1] The wreckage still remains at the bottom of the bay, close to its namesake city.


The City of Ashland was built in 1883 and owned by the Superior Lumber Company, located in Ashland. The ship was primarily used for timber rafting. As timber was harvested around the Bad River area, the logs would collect near the shore, where the City of Ashland would pick them up and tow them in rafts to the sawmill in Ashland.[2] The ship was a common sight around the Chequamegon Bay area.

On August 8, 1887, the boat was returning to Ashland while pulling a load of logs. At a point about three miles northeast of Washburn, a fire was discovered at the rear of the pilothouse. The entire boat was engulfed in flames within minutes. Hundreds of people lined the edge of the shore to view the emergency.[2]

As the flames were consuming almost the entire ship, the crew had no choice but to jump into the cold water of Lake Superior. Several boats came to their rescue, including the boats Cyclone, and S.B. Barker. Most of the crew survived; however, Fred Ebert drowned.[2]

The origin of the fire remains an unsolved mystery. The ship, the namesake of a port community, still remains under the cold murky waters of Lake Superior.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "". Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Keller, James M. The Unholy Apostles. pp. 45–48. ISBN 0-933577-001. 

Coordinates: 46°41′06″N 90°49′31″W / 46.6850°N 90.8252°W / 46.6850; -90.8252