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MARQUETTE Maritime history lovers were in for a treat at Tuesday Northern Coalition for Lifelong Learning event. Smith.

Stonehouse shared the story of the Smith wreck in Lake Superior during a devastating Great Lakes storm in November 1913, as well as 100 year hunt for the shipwreck, with a large audience in Peter White Public Library community room.

I talking about today is the wreck of the Henry B. Smith, which is Marquette contribution to the storm of 1913, Stonehouse said. storm wrecked 17 ships on the Great Lakes (and) drowned 250 sailors. Nine of the ships lost were brand new, arguably full size steel vessels that disappeared with all hands. The last one found was the Henry B. A century later, they finally find that shipwreck, so this is the story of that. Henry B. Smith, a 545 foot steel hulled lake freighter was built in 1906 by the American Ship Building Company. Stonehouse said the Smith made 30 trips a year, captained by 58 year old James Owen, who had 30 years of experience.

The Smith arrived in Marquette port on Nov. 6, 1913 to collect iron ore. However, due to cold conditions and winds from the storm, the ore was slow to be loaded, which resulted in significant delays for the Smith. Both captain and crew were anxious to leave, as they did not get paid for time sitting at the dock, Stonehouse said.

Finally, late in the afternoon of Nov. 9, the storm appeared to calm, allowing the Smith to finish loading and depart from Marquette.

Stonehouse said despite the apparent improvement of conditions at the Smith departure, winds climbed to over 60 knots and waves were in excess of 32 feet in the hours that followed.

Owens may not have left, had he known how bad things would truly get, Stonehouse said.

forecasting then was certainly not science by any means. It was an art, maybe, but they were trying to make it look like science, Stonehouse said. as a result, if you are a boat captain, you have to rely on your own weather sense more than you do the official forecast coming out, because it going to be late and it probably going to be wrong. described the last time the Smith was seen traveling before it disappearance: onshore were able to see the Smith go out several miles, then turn to the left, as if she was heading towards the Keweenaw Peninsula. was the last time the Smith and her 25 crew members who perished in the storm were seen on the water.

of wreckage would come ashore from the Smith,
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none of it would show where the ship is, Stonehouse said. in the world was looking for it. Navy was convinced to bring up a sub hunting aircraft to try to find the Smith. aircraft was designed to find Russian submarines hiding under the polar ice cap, so you would think that a 545 foot steel iron ore carrier filled with ore would certainly be findable, but (it was) unable to locate (the Smith), Stonehouse said.

In 1999, another attempt at finding the Smith was made, with a boat designed to find sea mines at the bottom of the ocean. But again, they failed to locate the sunken ship.

Finally, in 2013, 100 years after the Smith disappeared, the vessel was discovered by three shipwreck hunters from Minnesota: Ken Merryman, Jerry Eliason and Craig Smith.

The team located the wreck with the help of a side scan sonar built for $1,000 by Eliason son, Jarrod. Normally, that type of equipment can cost around $1 million, Stonehouse said.

They were able to estimate the Smith location in Lake Superior because Eliason wife, Karen, was able to use magnetic anomaly data obtained from the federal government to create a map of where large amounts of steel and iron were in the lake.

Generally, when large amounts of steel or iron are detected underwater, researchers know it may be from a large sunken vessel. This magnetic anomaly data was overlaid onto a navigation chart of Lake Superior, giving them locations of potential shipwreck sites. This data allowed them to narrow their search to a particular area by process of elimination, as they were able to eliminate the magnetic anomalies that corresponded to known shipwreck sites.

Map in hand, the team set out with their side scanner and, amazingly, located the wreck of the Smith within 20 minutes, Stonehouse said. The Smith remains rested 530 feet below Lake Superior surface, 30 miles from Marquette and 20 miles from Big Bay. When the crew examined the long sought wreckage of the Smith, they discovered she went down at full speed, but some of her glass windowpanes were still intact.

The Smith bell was also still intact, in the exact spot it had been when she went down. A small remotely operated underwater vehicle was used to give the ship bell one final, soundless ring,
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100 years after 25 men lost their lives in the Smith tragic wreck.