The Cleveland Underwater Explorers, Inc. (CLUE) completed a very successful 2007 field season discovering and documenting the shipwrecks of Lake Erie in the United States.
The wreck of the sidewheel steamboat Anthony Wayne was located by CLUE member Tom Kowalczk in September, 2006, and a preliminary pre-disturbance archaeological survey, including photo and video surveys, was performed by the CLUE team in May, 2007. This historically significant ship was built in 1837, only 19 years after the construction of the first steamboat on Lake Erie, Walk-in-the-Water. Anthony Wayne sank in 50 feet (15 meters) of water on April 28, 1850, after its starboard boilers exploded while traveling off Vermilion,
The sidewheel steamboat Anthony Wayne. Click on the image to zoom in. (J.W. Orr, Mariners’ Museum, Newport News, VA)
Ohio. Approximately 38 people lost their lives in the explosion and sinking. Anthony Wayne is believed to be the oldest existing steamboat wreck in Lake Erie. The shipwreck’s discovery was announced at a press conference at the Great Lakes Historical Society (GLHS) on June 20, 2007, and garnered international press coverage. The process has begun to nominate the wreck for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, where it could become the first Lake Erie shipwreck listed.
Sidescan sonar image of the wreck of the Anthony Wayne in Lake Erie in 50 feet of water. (Sidescan by Tom Kowalczk)
CLUE continued its support of the Maritime Archaeological Survey Team (MAST) and GLHS in their efforts to survey known shipwrecks in Lake Erie. High resolution sidescan sonar images were taken by CLUE of the wooden schooner Ivanhoe and wooden steamer Sarah E. Sheldon to serve as site guides for the archaeological survey of these two vessels. CLUE also provided additional assistance to GLHS in the identification process of four possible shipwreck sites located during a geological sidescan survey performed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Geological Survey.
Sidescan sonar image of the schooner Ivanhoe (Jug Wreck) in Lake Erie in 55 feet of water. (Sidescan by David VanZandt)
Finally, seven additional shipwreck discoveries were made during the 2007 field season. Announcement and survey work of these finds are scheduled for a later date.
Two presentations about the Anthony Wayne were given by Tom Kowalczk and David VanZandt at two regional shipwreck shows during the 2007-2008 winter season. The first was given on November 17, 2007, at the Bay Area Divers (BAD) Shipwrecks & Scuba banquet in Sandusky, Ohio, where CLUE was also presented with BAD’s 2007 Organizational Award. A second presentation on the Anthony Wayne was given at the Niagara Divers’ Association (NDA) Shipwrecks/2008 show on April 5, 2008, in Welland, Ontario.
During the winter CLUE also assisted David Kelch, Ohio Sea Grant professor at Ohio State University, in setting up a new interactive website, Shipwrecks and Maritime Tales of the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail. CLUE provided information, images, and editorial comments for this official State of Ohio shipwreck web site. It can be found at: http://www.ohioshipwrecks.org
CLUE continues to research and discover the underwater cultural heritage of Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes. Visit their web site at: http://www.clueshipwrecks.org.
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