Today is the 29th Anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I've been fascinated with this story since I saw a special about it on the Discovery Channel 7 or 8 years ago. One day I would love to Whitefish point, Michigan to see the ship's bell. Devon
Anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
I really like that song that Gordon Lightfoot wrote about that boat. The Edmund Fitzgerald.
I saw a T.V. special about the sinking of that ship. She went down in the Great Lakes right?
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
by Gordon Lightfoot
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they called Gitchee Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the "Gales of November" came early
The ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
With a crew and good captain well seasoned
Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night when the ship's bell rang
Could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?
The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the captain did too,
T'was the witch of November come stealin'
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the Gales of November came slashin'
When afternoon came it was freezin' rain
In the face of a hurricane west wind
When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck sayin'
"Fellas, it's too rough to feed ya"
At seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in', he said
"Fellas, it's been good t'know ya"
The captain wired in he had water comin' in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when 'is lights went outta sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
Does any one know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searches all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her
They might have split up or they might have capsized;
May have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters
Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the rooms of her ice-water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams;
The islands and bays are for sportsmen
And farther below Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her,
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the Gales of November remembered
In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
In the "Maritime Sailors' Cathedral"
The church bell chimed till it rang twenty-nine times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call "Gitchee Gumee"
Superior, they said, Never gives up her dead
When the 'Gales of November' come early
The Edmund Fitzgerald was lost with her entire crew of 29 men on Lake Superior November 10, 1975, 17 miles north-northwest of Whitefish Point, Michigan. Whitefish Point is the site of the Whitefish Point Light Station and Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS) has conducted three underwater expeditions to the wreck, 1989, 1994, and 1995.
At the request of family members surviving her crew, Fitzgerald's 200 lb. bronze bell was recovered by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society on July 4, 1995. This expedition was conducted jointly with the National Geographic Society, Canadian Navy, Sony Corporation, and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The bell is now on display in the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum as a memorial to her lost crew.
"Passage in Moonlight" by David Conklin
Available online in the Shipwreck Coast Museum Store.
I had the opportunity to visit Whitefish Point and visit the shipwreck museum. It was well worth the visit, in fact I would love to go back. I thought Lake Michigan was cold, but it doesn't have anything on Lake Superior.
I can't believe its been 29 years since she sank.
When I was in one of my doctor's office on Monday, an elderly couple were there talking about their comming wedding anniversary on Nov 10th. I piped up and said something like "oh, the anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". the Mr. thought momentarily and said yes, it is, and not many people are aware of it.
Then I asked what year they were married? 1975
I suggested it was a married that sank a ship! They both laughed heartily at that.
I remember that the song was released around the one year anniversary of the wreck. We were driving to Wisconson on a move there. It was early November and very cold in 1976. The song was quite haunting in the dark night with the autumn winds blowing very strongly. I often think of people telling the story and singing the song three hundred years from now and the wreck becoming a legend. Who knows, maybe the people then will still be able to listen to Gordon's original version.
Since we live in Michigan, I am hoping someday to be able to go up to the upper peninsula to see Whitefish Bay and the memorial. I hear they brought up the bell of the E. F. but I don't know if they kept it on the surface or brought it back down.
God I hate that song.
Call me ignorant, but since I've heard that song since I was 10, I thought the wreck happened like 200 years ago. Plus, I thought Gordon Lightfoot was some late 60's singer, so I thought the song was a real oldie back in '78. You mean it was only two years old at that point?
Duluth also has a nautical museum with the story of the EF there. Cool place that eyegirl took me to on one of my first journeys to visit our Apostates in the Great North.