Shipwreck hunters recently found the wreckage of a wooden side-wheel steamship on the bottom of Lake Huron, according to the Maritime Executive. The steamer, which turned out to be the long-lost Keystone State, reportedly sank more than 150 years ago on its way to Milwaukee from Detroit, the article noted.
While historical information shows the steamship had weathered a particularly nasty storm near Port Austin the last time it was sighted, the exact circumstances that led to the loss of the ship and the 33 people on board back in 1861 remain a mystery, according to the Detroit Free Press. Some historians have speculated that the ship’s crew may have been secretly transporting Civil War supplies or even valuable gold bullion, but no artifacts have been found yet to support this idea.
Details of the Keystone State
The Keystone State was originally built in Buffalo, N.Y., and at nearly 300 feet long was one of the biggest steamships of its time, the Free Press article explained. The steamship, which moved with the help of two giant paddle wheels on each of its sides, transported European immigrants to the Midwest and also carried cargo back and forth.
Part of the reason there is so much speculation about the ship’s cargo is because of the apparent desperation of its final voyage in early November. Ships of its size didn’t typically set sail so late in the year across such a large expanse of the Great Lakes when storm season was brewing, which leads some historians to believe the cargo on board might be of some historical significance.
Who Found the Steamer?
Seasoned shipwreck hunter David Trotter and his crew are credited with finding the steamer, which was the latest of more than 100 shipwrecks he and his teams have discovered over the past 40 years of exploration. The Great Lakes are notoriously full of shipwrecks and more than 5,000 are scattered throughout the various lakes, the Maritime Executive article explained.
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