The Remains of a Palace Steamer Found in Lake Huron After More than a Hundred Years

by Leila Fletcher, age 11

The remains of a palace steamer, shipwrecked in the Great Lakes in 1861, was recently recovered in Lake Huron.

David Trotter, a shipwreck hunter from Wayne County, found the sunken ship shortly after the Fourth of July, using a side-scan sonar device. The ship, named the Keystone State, was found 175 feet underwater and 25-30 miles northeast of Harrisville, WI.

The ship sank in a disastrous November storm while sailing from Detroit to Milwaukee. The wreck resulted in the deaths of 33 people.

A specially designed ship called a palace steamer, the Keystone State was was 300 feet long with paddle wheels that were 40 feet in diameter.

“The interiors were made to look like the finest hotels. They were quite beautiful inside. They had leaded glass windows and carved arches and mahogany trim,” said maritime historian, author and artist Robert McGreevy. When the crew found the ship, the stern was broken. The boilers, however, were well preserved and the wheels were upright.

“It was pretty amazing to see those sitting upright on the bottom like that,” said diver Mary Lutz.

Trotter and his team shot videos from the 30 times they dived to explore the wreckage. They plan o release DVDs detailing the exploration.