Life ring from the Edmund Fitzgerald found
“I bet it's been laying there for 30 years at least.”
Join the discussion below, or Read more at Earth Times.
#1 Oct 31, 2007
Edmund Fitzgerald Service in River Rouge -
November 10, 2007
S. S. Edmund Fitzgerald 2nd service planned in River Rouge, Michigan
at 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm November 10, 2007.
Take part in this special service.
November 10 - Fitzgerald Memorial Service
A memorial service for the men lost on the Edmund Fitzgerald will be held on November 10 at Dr. Henri Belanger Park in River Rouge, Mi. The service will be held near the Mariners Memorial Lighthouse beginning at 6:00 p.m. The mailboat J. W. Westcott will be on hand to take out a wreath to be placed on the river. The service will feature a plaque presentation, bell ringing, lantern lighting, and refreshments will be served. For more information call Tony Laginess at or Roscoe Clark at
#2 Oct 31, 2007
See web site for more infomation ar www.ssedmundfitzgerald.com
#3 Oct 31, 2007
50 Year Anniversary -
PLANNED DOWNRIVER LAUNCHED CELEBRATIONS
JUNE 7th, 8th 2008
June 7, 1958 River Rouge, Michigan
Hull # 301, the S. S. Edmund Fitzgerald, is launched in River Rouge from
the Great Lakes Engineering Works (GLEW). The Fitzgerald
becomes the largest ship to sail the Great Lakes, a title she will hold
for eleven years. She is owned by the Northwestern Mutual Life insurance company and placed under long-term charter to the Oglebay
Norton company of Cleveland.
#4 Oct 31, 2007
PLANNED DOWNRIVER CELEBRATIONS.
JUNE 7th, 8th 2008
"TWO BIG FIVE-O's FOR RIVER ROUGE, MICHIGAN."
The Mayor, the Commissioners of RIVER ROUGE,
and other executives , are
currently planning a celebratory community event in honor of
past and present residents who have contributed their manpower
and talents to this important mainstay of America's industrial
FIFTY YEAR MILESTONES.
(i) While the Great Lakes Engineering Works shipyard has been
silent since 1962, after almost FIFTY (50) years of
operation, there are many community retirees who remember
most of the massive Great Lakes freighters; other notable
vessels; and steel fabrications; that were built during
wartime and when our downriver industrial might was
(ii) And, yet another FIFTY (50) years ago, on Saturday June 7th
1958, the shipyard side-launched the S.S. EDMUND FITZGERALD
which was the first, largest and fastest straight-decker
bulk-ore carrier on the Great Lakes for St. Lawrence Seaway
The planners of the 2008 event welcome other community inputs
since River Rouge has significantly contributed to making
America an industrial giant from the early days of Michigan's
At that time, literacy and innovation were the hallmarks of her
business environment, with the Detroit area as the principal
industrial city, port and staging post for the distribution of
Michigan-produced goods and services.
We would like this event to become a social and business
celebration of the road already travelled and new
directions to be taken, so please mark your 2008 calendars
and contact us for further background and voluntary
participation opportunities as preliminary planning
On November 10, 1975, the 26,000-ton ore carrier named the Edmund Fitzgerald disappeared from the radar screen of the Arthur M. Anderson. The sinking of the carrier has caused considerable stir and controversy over many years. Over the years, Gordon Lightfoot has kept the memory of the men and the wreck alive through his song, The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, an eerie ballad of that fateful night in November.
For more information:
#5 May 23, 2008
June 7th 2008
Gibraltar Historical Museum
Lake Erie Metropark
11 am to 4pm
Free History Event
The Lake Erie Metropark will be hosting a Downriver Historical Event and Celebration featuring the 50th Anniversary of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald. This will also include workshops on shipbuilders, ships built in Gibraltar and downriver in the last 200 years. There will be a Salute to Excellence Award, Meet the Designers and Ship Builders Launch Commemoration and lots of Art and Artists. This historical event will be hosted at the Marshlands Museum and Nature Center and the Gibraltar Historical Museum will also be a part of this celebration day with Special Hours of 11am to 4pm Saturday.
Please contact Roscoe Clark Debbie Davenport at website www.ssEdmundFitzgerald.com for more information.
#6 Aug 2, 2010
November 10, 2010
Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Service in River Rouge
S. S. Edmund Fitzgerald 5th Service in River Rouge, Michigan
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Wednesday November 10, 2010
Edmund Fitzgerald Video
SHINING A LIGHT ON HIDDEN TRUTHS
In the recent past I do recall that President George Walker Bush spoke of a "THOUSAND POINTS OF LIGHT" to further the progress of our great country. My interpretation of his intent was that the generation of such light should come from our able citizenry, and mainly through daily contributions in thought, word and deed to our society and most notably in the form of volunteerism.
Many of us have responded and experienced success or failure, together with criticism having either justified or unjustified bases. In the latter case, some unwarranted criticism has been based on rumor filling a vacuous state of disinformation and a general lack of appreciation regarding our motivational goals especially when directed at our volunteer group known as CASUALTY RESEARCH ASSOCIATES (CRA). We are composed of senior citizens and other having comprehensive technical credentials and experience in the maritime field and, as retirees of sound mind, we have freedom of thought and action unrestricted by management constraints affecting income and tenure.
While one of our initial goals was to develop an objective three-part "cradle-to-the-grave " historical documentary covering the development, construction and operation of S.S. EDMUND FITZGERALD, our investigatory efforts have experienced considerable difficulty for reasons not fully expressed by knowledgeable persons ranging from the shipyard tradesmen to executive and government regulatory levels.(i.e. "Gag" orders prevalent).
Based on these circumstances our original investigatory scope has been expanded to encompass "We don't know what we didn't know" avenues that have led to startling legerdemain discoveries in our self-motivated search for truth.
#7 Aug 2, 2010
Designer, Raymond Ramsay M. Sc. was a member of the original design team at Great Lakes Engineering Works during the design and construction of the largest and fastest ore carrier ever built on the Great Lakes.
Ray, together with a group of volunteers retired Ship Captains, Designers, Video Experts and Maritime Experts have uncovered secrets and unveiled evidence to prove why the ore carrier sank to the bottom of Lake Superior on November 10, 1975
#8 Aug 2, 2010
About the Ship
The S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald was conceived as a business enterprise of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Northwestern Mutual contracted with Great Lakes Engineering Works of Ecorse, Michigan to construct a "maximum sized" Great Lakes bulk carrier. Her keel was laid on August 8, 1957 as Hull No. 301.
S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald Hull 301
4,000 ft of cracking was detected in the keelson and frames
Some 4,000 ft. of cracking was detected in the keelson and frame connection to the shell plating; however, during the winter layup of 1968-1969, this condition was look at and a minimum redesign and repair was done to get a coast guard approval to get the boat back in service that year. Each year the cracking came back.The mud layer in the bottom of the ballast tanks would make it hard to inspect for this problem each year.
Minimum Required Freeboard
3 ft. 3 1/4" Deeper than 1958 design
Long Ton = 2,240 lbs.
135 Tons = 302,400 lbs.
5,366.25 Tons = 12,020,400 lbs.
1969 Minimum required freeboard is reduced by the American Board of Shipping (ABS)
1971 Freeboard is again reduced by ABS
1973 Freeboard is again reduced by ABS. The S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald can now legally carry enough cargo to sit 3 feet 3 1/4 inches lower in the water than was considered safe when she was launched.(4,421.5 tons more.) The shipping industry standard for shipments of coal is the net ton (2,000 lbs or 907.2 kgs). Other bulk commodities use the gross ton (2,240 lbs / 1,016 kgs) or metric tonne (1,000 kgs / 2,204.6 lbs).
#9 Aug 2, 2010
Great Lakes Engineering Works was established in 1903 on the Detroit River, in Ecorse MI. In 1905, the company took over the Columbia Iron Works, in St. Clair MI, which at that time had only built two ships. The yard in Ashtabula OH was started in 1912. The Ecorse yard was later renamed the River Rouge yard, as a result of reincorporation of the community. GLEW closed in 1960.
The shipbuilding plant of the Great Lakes Engineering Co. will be the largest on the lakes. Work is being pushed on it and a greater portion of it will be completed before August 1. The plant occupies a tract of eighty-five acres on the river front, below Smith's coal dock, the old Hall brickyard property being the nucleus around which the balance has been purchased in small parcels. The ground has frontage of 1,400 feet on the river. The Michigan Central and Detroit Southern roads will both have trackage into the yards. There will be four shipbuilding berths, 600 feet in length, so that the yard will be equipped to build at the same time four of the largest vessels ever planned for the lakes. Between these berths are to be two slips for side launching ships; one of them 600 feet long by 125 feet wide and 14 feet deep, with the other 600 feet long by 150 feet wide and 30 feet deep.
#10 Aug 2, 2010
LAKE SUPERIOR FACTS
· Lake Superior contains ten percent of all the fresh water
on the planet Earth.
· It covers 82,000 square kilometers or 31,700 square miles.
· The average depth is 147 meters or 483 feet.
· There have been about 350 shipwrecks recorded in Lake Superior.
· Lake Superior is, by surface area, the largest lake in the world.
A Jesuit priest in 1668 named it Lac Tracy, as it appears on a few maps but that name was never officially adopted.
· It contains as much water as all the other Great Lakes
combined, plus three extra Lake Eries .
· There is a small outflow from the lake at St. Marys River
(Sault Ste Marie) into Lake Huron,
but it takes almost two centuries for the water to be completely
· There is enough water in Lake Superior to cover all of North
and South America with water a foot deep.
· Lake Superior was formed during the last glacial retreat,
making it one of the earth's youngest
major features at only about 10,000 years old.
· The deepest point in the lake is 405 meters or 1,333 feet.
· There are 78 different species of fish that call the big
· The maximum wave ever recorded on Lake Superior was 9.45
meters or 31 feet high.
· If you stretched the shoreline of Lake Superior out to a
straight line, it would be long enough to reach
from Duluth to the Bahamas .
· Over 300 streams and rivers empty into Lake Superior with
the largest source being the Nipigon River .
· The average underwater visibility of Lake Superior is
about 8 meters or 27 feet, making it the cleanest and
clearest of the Great Lakes . Underwater visibility in some
spots reaches 30 meters.
· In the summer, the sun sets more than 35 minutes later on
the western shore of Lake Superior
than at its southeastern edge.
· Some of the world's oldest rocks, formed about 2.7 billion
years ago, can be found on the Ontario shore
of Lake Superior .
· It very rarely freezes over completely, and then usually
just for a few hours. Complete freezing
occurred in 1962, 1979, 2003 and 2009.
#11 Aug 2, 2010
Six-Fathom Shoal Updates
During a taped conversation with his office, which was made a part of the record, the ANDERSONs master stated that the FITZGERALD "passed right over that 6-fathom spot." The Canadian Hydrographic Service survey shows the water depth at this charted "6- fathom spot". If the FITZGERALD, whose draft was more than 27 feet, had passed through this position on a course plan later that day of 141 T the vessel would have had to pass over the north tip of Caribou Island and through an area where the depth is less than 21 feet.
During a taped conversation with his office, which was made a part of the record, the ANDERSONs master stated that the FITZGERALD "passed right over that 6-fathom spot."
"Revise Lake Survey Chart No. 9 showing the areas between Michipicoten Island and Caribou Island in Lake Superior to reflect the findings of the survey performed by the Canadian Hydrographic Service.(Class II, Priority Action) 017833)
#12 Aug 2, 2010
View video of the last trip
"The position of FITZGERALD relative to that of ANDERSON cannot be reconstructed. Information available is based on the recollections of the Master and Watch Officers on ANDERSON, since the relative position of FITZGERALD was observed intermittently on the radar, but not recorded. Testimony on these observations is inconsistent.
Despite many people accepting this as the most likely scenario for the sudden list and deck damage, the photographic evidence for such a grounding may exist. Every expedition to the freighter has reported that there is some scraping, gouging or damage to the rudder or propeller, which should show on the overturned bottom of the stern. Diving expeditions on the shoals soon may find new evidence of groundings by a ship.
#13 Aug 2, 2010
Edmund Fitzgerald's reported crew of 29 on her final voyage included:
" TOTAL ACCOMMODATION FOR 46 PERSON"
Last - First - Position - Age - Hometown
Armagost, Michael E. Third Mate 37 Iron River, Wisconsin
Beetcher, Fred J. Porter 56 Superior, Wisconsin
Bentsen, Thomas D. Oiler 23 St. Joseph, Michigan
Bindon, Edward F. First Assistant Engineer 47 Fairport Harbor, Ohio
Borgeson, Thomas D. Maintenance Man 41 Duluth, Minnesota
Champeau, Oliver J. Third Assistant Engineer 41 Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Church, Nolan S. Porter 55 Silver Bay, Minnesota
Cundy, Ransom E. Watchman 53 Superior, Wisconsin
Edwards, Thomas E. Second Assistant Engineer 50 Oregon, Ohio
Haskell, Russell G. Second Assistant Engineer 40 Millbury, Ohio
Holl, George J. Chief Engineer 60 Cabot, Pennsylvania
Hudson, Bruce L. Deck Hand 22 North Olmsted, Ohio
Kalmon, Allen G. Second Cook 43 Washburn, Wisconsin
MacLellan, Gordon F. Wiper 30 Clearwater, Florida
Mazes, Joseph W. Special Maintenance Man 59 Ashland, Wisconsin
McCarthy, John H. First Mate 62 Bay Village, Ohio
McSorley, Ernest M. Captain 63 Toledo, Ohio
O'Brien, Eugene W. Wheelsman 50 Toledo, Ohio
Peckol, Karl A. Watchman 20 Ashtabula, Ohio
Poviach, John J. Wheelsman 59 Bradenton, Florida
Pratt, James A. Second Mate 44 Lakewood, Ohio
Rafferty, Robert C. Steward 62 Toledo, Ohio
Rippa, Paul M. Deck Hand 22 Ashtabula, Ohio
Simmons, John D. Wheelsman 63 Ashland, Wisconsin
Spengler, William J. Watchman 59 Toledo, Ohio
Thomas, Mark A. Deck Hand 21 Richmond Heights, Ohio
Walton, Ralph G. Oiler 58 Fremont, Ohio
Weiss, David E. Cadet 22 Agoura, California
Wilhelm, Blaine H. Oiler 52 Moquah, Wisconsin
#14 Aug 2, 2010
A Ship Masters' Prayer - Blessed are all Thy saints, O God and King, who have traveled over the tempestuous sea of this life and have made the harbor of peace and felicity. Watch over us who are still on our dangerous voyage; and remember such as lied exposed to the rough storms of trouble and temptations.
Frail is our vessel, and the waters are wide; but as in Thy mercy Thou hast set our course, so steer the vessel of our life towards the everlasting shore of peace, and bring us at length to the quiet haven of our heart's desire, where Thou, O God art blessed, and live and reign for ever.
By: Mariners' Church of Detroit
#15 Aug 2, 2010
CABLE-CONTROLLED UNDERWATER RECOVERY VEHICLE
The vehicle pictured at bottom was the first successful remotely operated undersea vehicle. The Cable-controlled Undersea Recovery Vehicle (CURV) was developed in the early 1960's by the former Pasadena Annex of the Naval Ordnance Test Station, one of SSC San Diego's parent laboratories. CURV was designed to recover test ordnance lost off San Clemente Island at depths as great as 2000 feet, but became famous in 1966 with the recovery of an H-bomb off Spain in 2800 feet of water. This sucesss spawned later generations of vehicles designated CURV II, CURV II-B, CURV II-C and CURV III. CURV, now referred to as CURV I, pioneered the concept of undersea teleoperators.
At that time, a task force was formed, including representatives from the Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board, the U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage, the Naval Undersea Center, and Seaward, Inc. of Falls Church, Virginia, an engineering consultant firm under contract to the U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage to make a visual survey of the wreckage using the USN CURV III System under contract to the USCG. The CURV III is an unmanned, deep-diving vehicle controlled from the surface and capable of television and still photography. This vehicle made 12 dives with a total of 56 hours 5 minutes bottom time and recorded 43,255 feet of videotape and 985 still color photographs.
Typ. 4.67 hours on bottom dive times
Hours before the dive to the Fitz
May 1976 - Official Pictures
New information uncovered by viewing video tape of the pliot house and radio handset.
"Curv III tape a camera view of the radio handset cord being held up at the top of the pliot house."
After the first dive, the handset cord was seen out side the pliot house.
#16 Aug 2, 2010
50 Year Anniversary Memorable 50th Celebration on the building of the "Fitz"
We left Texas heading en route to Flat Rock, Michigan in which we traveled 1160 miles in a little over 19 hours.
The Celebration itself was wonderful. We were impressed with all the shipyard workers who built the "Fitz" along with the people who actually worked upon the boat. We enjoyed hearing all of their stories and memories that they shared with everyone. Everyone present, including those who participated in this event, enjoyed all of the speakers, workshops, exhibits and the Edmund Fitzgerald information. The celebration of the building of the "Fitz" was very emotional for some as they shared and listened to each other's stories.
It was a pleasure to meet as well as visit with Captain Don Erickson. He knew my Dad. We found out from him that he and my Dad both began sailing the Great Lakes in the same year.
I picked up Pam Johnson from the airport on Saturday morning. It was moving to finally meet her face to face after many hours of talking on the phone. Pam and I shared some special moments during our time together that we will never forget. We brought Pam Johnson home to Kansas, safe and sound. The 14-hour trip went by very fast; we shared memories, and stories of our fathers, and families the entire way.
Roscoe, his sister, speaker Tom , ship builders, and his remaining staff organized as well as accomplished their desires to have a celebration for the 50th anniversary of the building of the "Fitz". They should be proud of what they have accomplished and how successful it was despite all the setbacks and people who tried to prevent this from happening. Everyone needs to remember that this was a celebration for the workers that built this ship and not of its sinking. We were proud to be a part of it.
It was unexpected, but a welcomed pleasure for us, the son, and daughter of George "Red" Burgner and Robert "Bob" Rafferty to serve food to all that attended.
We thank you Roscoe for all of the historical visits around the Detroit and River Rouge areas.
A special thanks to Richard Orgel and his wife. We shared our table together at the event. I thoroughly enjoyed our discussions about my Dad and their experience's on the ship. You remind me so much of my Dad, he would have loved talking to you.
I want to thank all of you that called and wished my daughter a "Happy 19th Birthday" on Monday, 06-09-08. Thanks Ray Ramsey for the call, which was special.
We want to thank all the people that took the time to visit with us and listened to us share my dad's pictures along with his stories while working on the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald. If my dad were alive today, he would have attended this celebration and would have been appreciative of the turnout; he would have enjoyed talking with co-workers and shipmates. Thanks again Roscoe, for your desire & interest in providing information about the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, it is exceptional.
Jeff G. & Michelle R. Burgner (Son & Granddaughter of George "Red" Burgner)
#17 Aug 2, 2010
Bishop Richard W. Ingalls, a longtime minister at Mariners' Church of Detroit
On Nov. 10, 1975, the 729-foot iron ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald sank in a storm. The next morning, Ingalls rang the church bell 29 times, once for each victim. His action was memorialized in Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot's song, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."
Ingalls also created an annual memorial service for the victims, with the ringing of the bell.
50 Year Anniversary Birthday Cake
Play audio report about this program
Link to Audio
Fitzgerald Builders Celebrate
Its 50th Birthday
Audio - Edmund Fitzgerald - PLAY
#18 Aug 2, 2010
November 10, 2010
Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Service in River Rouge
S. S. Edmund Fitzgerald 5th Service in River Rouge, Michigan
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Wednesday November 10, 2010
Edmund Fitzgerald Video
#21 Oct 20, 2011
Free web cast of the service November 10, 2011 6:00pm see web site
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