SS Louisiana

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Louisiana (shipwreck)
The Louisiana prior to the storm
SS Louisiana is located in Wisconsin
SS Louisiana
LocationLake Michigan off the coast of Washington, Door County, Wisconsin
Coordinates45°23′58.8″N 86°55′21.6″W / 45.399667°N 86.922667°W / 45.399667; -86.922667Coordinates: 45°23′58.8″N 86°55′21.6″W / 45.399667°N 86.922667°W / 45.399667; -86.922667
NRHP reference #92000104
Added to NRHPMarch 19, 1992

The Louisiana was a steamboat that sank in Lake Michigan off the coast of Washington, Door County, Wisconsin, United States, during the Great Lakes Storm of 1913. In 1992 the shipwreck site was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[1]


The Louisiana was constructed in Marine City, Michigan in 1887, while her engine was built at the Dry Dock Complex in Detroit, Michigan.[2]

On November 2, 1913, the Louisiana departed from Lorain, Ohio to deliver a load of coal to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[3] After completing her stop in Milwaukee, the Louisiana made way for Escanaba, Michigan to pick up a load of iron ore. In the early morning hours of November 8, the ship passed through Porte des Morts. Upon reaching the strait, she was greeted by a severe snowstorm. The captain attempted to take refuge at Washington Island in Door County, Wisconsin, but the heavy seas and howling wind proved too strong for the ship's anchors to hold her in place, and she was run aground.

Despite the situation on board the Louisiana, the crew opted to remain aboard the vessel rather than taking the one small lifeboat they had out to the raging seas. However, a fire broke out in the cargo hold later in the morning and the crew members were left with no choice. A rescue ship had been deployed from Plum Island, but the breaking waves were too powerful for the ship to be able to reach the crew.[4] In the end, the crew was able to make it to shore.

The ship's boiler, engine, propeller, propeller shaft and rudder were later salvaged.[5] Currently, the site is a popular area for divers and archaeologists.[6] It lies in 10 to 25 feet (3.0 to 7.6 m) of water on the southeast side of Washington Harbor.[7]


  1. ^ "Louisiana (Shipwreck)". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  2. ^ "Service History page 3". Wisconsin Archived from the original on 2010-12-03. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  3. ^ "Final Voyage". Wisconsin Archived from the original on 2012-03-27. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  4. ^ "Final Voyage page 2". Wisconsin Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  5. ^ "Final Voyage page 3". Wisconsin Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  6. ^ "Today page 4". Wisconsin Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  7. ^ Kohl, Cris (2001). The Great Lakes Diving Guide. West Chicago, Ill.: Seawolf Communications, Inc.