Lucerne (shipwreck)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Coordinates: 46°43.389′N 90°46.035′W / 46.723150°N 90.767250°W / 46.723150; -90.767250

An early 1880s sketch of the Lucerne
An early 1880s sketch of the Lucerne
Name: Lucerne
Owner: William Mack (part owner)
Operator: Captain George George S. Lloyd, skipper William Mack
Port of registry: Flag of the United States.svg United States
Laid down: November 17 or 18, 1886
Launched: April 23, 1873
Fate: Lost with all hands in a storm on November 17 or 18, 1886
Status: Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991
Notes: Location: 46°43.389′N 90°46.035′W / 46.723150°N 90.767250°W / 46.723150; -90.767250[1]
General characteristics
Type: Schooner
Tonnage: 728 gross tons
Length: 195 feet (59 m)
Capacity: 1,330
Crew: 9
Lucerne (Shipwreck)
Nearest city La Pointe, Wisconsin
NRHP Reference # 91001775
Added to NRHP December 18, 1991
Items recovered from the Lucerne shipwreck site, on display at the Madeline Island Historical Museum.

The Lucerne was a commercial schooner. In November 1886, it sank due to bad weather in Lake Superior, off the coast of Long Island in Chequamegon Bay. The site of the wreck was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.[2]


The Lucerne was launched on April 23, 1873. It was nearly 195 feet (59 m) long and reportedly cost $55,000 to build.[3]

On November 15, 1886, the Lucerne was loaded with 1,200 tons of iron ore at Ashland, Wisconsin. The load was consigned to Little, Oglebay and Company of Cleveland.[4] After the delivery, The captain and crew set back for their home port destination. With new canvas sails and a light wind blowing, all the signs pointed to a speedy voyage home. However, a November snowstorm on the lake began developing that night.[4]

It was on November 17 or 18, the Lucerne succumbed to the violent storm, and sank off the shore of Long Island.[5] Unfortunately, at the height of the storm, the Lucerne had been spotted by the captain of the ship Fred Kelly, but could not offer any help to the distressed ship, under the circumstances. Nobody witnessed the Lucerne's final minutes, and none of the crew survived.[4]

William Mack, part owner of the Lucerne, became worried when the ship never arrived back at port. He telegraphed Bayfield and asked for a search vessel to be sent.[4] The boat S.B. Barker was dispatched for the purpose, but didn't have to go far to find the wreckage of the Lucerne. The crew discovered three masts sticking out of the water. Upon closer inspection, they saw three of the ship's crew members there, frozen solid in three inches of ice. Apparently they had climbed to the top of the masts to escape the frozen waters of Lake Superior, and had perished there while waiting to be rescued.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Great Lakes Shipwrecks". Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Lucerne (Shipwreck): La Pointe, Wisconsin". Find the Retrieved 2012-01-22. 
  3. ^ "Service History". Wisconsin Retrieved 2012-01-22. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Keller, James. The Unholy Apostles. pp. 39–44. ISBN 0-933577-001. 
  5. ^ "Final Voyage". Wisconsin Retrieved 2012-01-22.