Nov 10-03

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2003: November: Nov 10-03
S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Roger LeLievre
Ringing in memory    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Norm Hettinger

Mary Drew at Pasty Central on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 07:35 am:

The S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald's original bell was recovered, restored and is on display in the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Thanks to Norm Hettinger for giving the Pasty Cam a glimpse of it, while we remember back 28 years ago today when The Fitz and her crew of 29 disappeared visually and on radar.

Gales of November aren't predicted in today's weather, just some light snow and flurries!
Top photo courtesy of Know Your Ships ©2003

By Steve the flying Troll on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 07:48 am:

November is the most dangerous month for both ships and planes. Respect November for sudden gales. I think I'll stop by the Great Lakes Museum today as I work close by, and see the bell again. It has been too long since I have visited this jewel of a museum.

By Deb Canton mi on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 08:16 am:

The Fitz gets all the notice (is it because of the song?) Let's also remember the men lost on the Carl D. Bradley which sank 45 years ago this month and the men lost on the Daniel J. Morrell which went down 37 years ago Nov 30th.

By ed on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 08:29 am:

Ironic as it is that I was aboard the EDMUND FITZGERALD for its maiden season and we were out in the same storm that sunk the Carl D. Bradley.
We were sailing downbound on our last trip of the season and off shore from Alpena during that storm.My description of that day can be read in the following short article.


By Chevysac, Detroit in the tubes MI on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 08:42 am:

I remember this day all too well. As a Marquette Coast Guard Auxiliary member I had access to all the communications and tensions of the day. The wind howled and the waves roared over the breakwalls all night and all the next day. The "Fitz" wasn't the only boat to sink that day. A friend had left his 25 footer in a slip in Presque Isle Marina in Marquette. The surges were so large even inside the inner harbor of that Marina the boat sank in the slip. Fortunately, being close to shore and in five feet of water, careful use of an old Willeys Jeep Wagon with a front mounted winch, pulleys and nylon straps the boat was raised and lived to enjoy many a day (much warmer and calmer) on Lake Superior. May we remember all the lost lives from the "inland ocean" with prayers this month.

By Deb Canton mi on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 08:59 am:

My hat is off to all those who sail the Lakes. I'd never have the courage to pit a boat against the fury of the big waters......

By Kevin K. Lodi, Ca. on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 10:08 am:

Ed, I went to the site you recommended. Thanks for sharing your story of the Fitz. Very interesting reading. Living on the west coast now, I find that alot of people do not realize that the Fitzgerald really existed, they think it was only a song.

By Judy Brown-Kurnik, Chesaning MI on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 10:17 am:

As we remember the men lost on the Edmund Fitgerald, may we take a moment to pray for their families and friends that still mourn their loss after 28 years. May God be with those on the Great Lakes today and those who wait on the shore for their safe return.

By A. RICE , MI on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 11:01 am:

Not to take away from the ships of the Great Lakes. I would like to rember all the U.S. MARINS that went befor me, on this the 228 birthday of the foundation of this Great fighting force.

By Marsha, Genesee and Aura on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 12:34 pm:

Were the lives of any women lost when the Edmund Fitzgerald sank? One of my students, a third-grade boy, just asked me and I couldn't find it on any of the sites.

By Phil, Manton, MI on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 12:35 pm:

To Deb, Canton, MI

I believe one of the reasons the Fitz draws so much publicity is the mystery of why it went down. It was one of the largest on the lakes at the time and yet a smaller ship close by survived the hurricane type storm. There are several theories but to my knowledge none have been proven. But as you say we should not forget the other shipwrecks.

By Sarah, stuck in Ohio on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 12:38 pm:

Interesting story Ed! Thanks for sharing!

By Judy Brown-Kurnik, Chesaning MI on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 01:53 pm:

Marsha, there were no women on board the Edmund Fitzgerald when she sank. An extremely comprehensive story of the Fitzgerald can be found on Click on Links and you will find the Fitzgerald page in the listing.

By Cheryl - Michigan on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 02:00 pm:

I was at home with my children & you could hear the wind just howling & the rain just belting the windows of the house. And it was so dark & eeery. I thought about the sailors out on the lakes, espeically my father & prayed that he'd be safe. The next morning I turned on the tv & saw that my prayers had not been answered as I wished. The Edmund Fitzgerald had been lost in a storm in Lake Superior. My father was one of the crewmen who lost his life that night. My father is at peace where I think he would have wanted to be buried anyway. He had sailed nearly 30 years.May the entire crew rest in peace with their ship, USS EDMUND FITZGERALD.

By Marg, Hancock, MI on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 04:24 pm:

My Father and my brother were both involved the night the Edmund Fitzgerald went down. My Father was the Cheif lockmaster at the Sault Locks that night and my Brother was on the Arthur M. Anderson which was the first ship to search for survivors. When I came into work this morning they were playing the song by Gordon Lightfoot to remember the men who lost their lives on that one cold day in November. I shall always remember that night and always pray for the families of the men who went down into the depth's of Lake Superior.

By S. Marchat, Denver on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 04:46 pm:

and lets not forget the Mesquite, who floundered off Keystone Bay some years back

By D-Dog, west coast on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 04:55 pm:

A. Rice - well said Bro, to all Marines past and present, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

By Kevin....WI on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 05:02 pm:

It makes me proud annually to teach a 4-day lecture, slide and video presentation to my students in 8th grade science. I've compiled the entire story into a booklet I wrote a few years back on the subject and they just can't get enough. May we all pause around 7:10pm tonight to remember.....

By pikkuleipa on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 05:09 pm:

There will be a webcast-service from the Dossin Great Lakes Museum in Detroit tonight, incase anyone might be interested.

By Paul in Illinois on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 06:03 pm:

The Fitzgerald storm was raging 500 miles south of the Lake here on the Illinois prairie. We had the feeling she was lost when the first bulletins about a Laker missing in the storm appeared on the TV. Unfortunately, the feeling proved to be true.
Bless the 29 and their families and all the others who were lost on the Lakes.

By In Wi. on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 06:04 pm:
Includes a list of those men who passed that night on the Fitz.

By grimace houghton mi. on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 06:53 pm:

The first photo of the Fitz on this page appears to exhibit a "wow" in the ships hull at mid section . I hope this is just an aberation of the
lens, but the second picture shows it also to some
extent . Wasn't this ship repaired at one time?
I salute all those that enlist the military industrial complex, Thank you for adding to my
Freedom and Liberty

By Garth Minnesota on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 06:59 pm:

What a day my sister margret and Ruth Bryant left Bumbletown Hill at 3 pm and started to marquette//We got there at 11 pm it was 10 mph after barraga// the storm windows on the old hotel blew off we didnt know until the next day about the ship / It was the worst storm I was in of all the years in the up

By butsy, Illinois on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 07:26 pm:

Hi Ed, I remember you just like the picture. I also remember Ransom, God rest his soul, and also all the others who were lost. Hubbell used to be a great town in its hey-day. Nice to see your name and picture again. Butsy

By Fran,Ga on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 07:41 pm:

Was it possible for the Fitz to go thru the Portage Canal and Bridge and if so does anyone remember when? I don't know if I am mistaken but it seems like I remember seeing it. I lived up there thru the end of 60.

By Rich, Midland, MI on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 08:30 pm:

Fran - It was very possible - the Fitz could have easily made it through the Portage Canal. Check out - There is a picture taken today of the David Z. Norton - only 81 feet shorter and 7 feet narrower than the Fitz. In fact, the David Z. Norton is part of today's Oglebay Norton fleet, which I believe is the successor of the Columbia Star fleet which the Fitz was a member. The stack colors of marroon and yellow are still the same. For more info on today's Great Lakes fleet of ships, check out and go to the Photo Galleries/The Fleet Photo Gallery.

By Judy Brown-Kurnik, Chesaning MI on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 08:41 pm:

Cheryl, thank you for sharing your story of the loss of your father. The families of the men of the Edmund Fitzgerald have been in my prayers for the past 28 years. May God comfort each of you and give you peace.

By Fran,Ga on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 08:58 pm:

Cheryl,whenever I hear the "Fitz" song I think of your Dad. I never knew him personally but because we lived in a nearby town I feel like we lost a neighbor. Peace be with your family !

By Draftee 1970-72 on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 09:46 pm:

A group of over 30 Marines came to the Old Miami in the Cass Corridor of Detroit tonight, like they have for many many years to celebrate their birthday. They only stay for an hour, but the treat is theirs and their commander tends bar till they leave. With a Marine Corps fighter pilot dad in WW2 and a uncle who stormed Guadalcanal, I understand this special group of men and women. Marines are just very different types of people. Thank God we have them.

By The Dam Guy, Parasite Creek on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 10:41 pm:

As long as we're remembering the Eddy Fitz and the USMC (as my favorite Cheesehead, A. Rice pointed out) let's not forget another birthday boy:
Martin Luther, born on this date in 1483. I'm sure at least a few of the good folks of the Iron Range and the Copper Country remember ol' Marty,
especially if they're back-pew Lutherans like me...

By Ken from da UP on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 10:42 pm:

I saw the 'Fitz' many times when I sailed the lakes during '59 and '60 and again in '63. A few times at the Soo Locks and the St. Mary's River. If I remember right, Fran, she went through the Portage Ship Canal. I know the Wilfred Sykes did. In '63 I sailed on the Edward L. Ryerson for Inland Steel, the power of the waves on Lake Superior is really impressive. As the bow went into a wave, the water went OVER the radar antenna on top of the pilothouse. It was unbelieveable. I still think the Ryerson was one of the prettiest ships on the Lakes.

By Fran,Ga on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 11:10 pm:

Ken I think I remember the Sykes. I always liked those big old boats. When we were kids when we'd hear the ships blowing for the bridge we go down behind the school and watch. pretty much fun for us kids.If I remember right at times there were more than 1 ship docked in the canal.Possibly from bad weather or a strike or something?
Golly Ken,you amaze me with all you have done since we graduated!!! Well back to watching the Packers!!! Go Pack!!

By Ms. Katie on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 11:11 pm:

Know of a fellow who is captain of an ore boat now. He tells of being on a ship that night of The Fitz off the coast of Wisconsin And his ship dropped something like 20 or 30 feet in the surge of the waters!!God rest their souls and peace to their families.

By Sherry Chapman on Tuesday, November 11, 2003 - 12:13 am:

To "grimace houghton mi": The Fitzgerald was sort of rebuilt years after its maiden voyage. A friend of mine worked on the project. They made it bigger I believe.
So sorry for your loss, Cheryl. It's hard to imagine losing someone like that.
I think part of the reason the Fitz's sinking made such an impression was that these were modern times, and things like that weren't supposed to happen.
Interesting that some people think Mr. Lightfoot's song isn't based on fact. It always stops me in my tracks when he comes to the line, "Does anyone know where the love of God goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours?"
Right, nobody really knows what happened. Myself I vote for the bottoming out when they went over Six Fathom Shoals. They had an awful lot of water coming in.
The bravery of the captain and crew on the Anderson astounds me. To turn around and go back into that storm to try to help ... it's incredible.

By Russ E. St. Clair county MI on Tuesday, November 11, 2003 - 03:02 am:

Fran: Like you I remember and miss seeing those boats as a kid there too! Not to worry for me tho! I still see them! Just a few scant miles down, our road here ends at the ST. Clair River. There are several parks one can catch a magnificent view, especially Algonac State Park. Up bound they are in Canadian waters, down bound US waters! It is really something to stand on the shore while those 1000 footers like the "Belle River" pass just feet by you. And now we see ships of all nations pass thru too! The crews always wave as they go by. I have talked to some of them on the CB radio!

By Dave of Mohawk, MI on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 03:48 pm:

Literaly hundreds of ships have sunk over the years after being battered by great lakes storms. Hundreds of ships have also survived storms which were equal to or greater than the one that sunk the Fitz. I guess my point is that there is NO MYSTERY. Why some people have to keep insisting that there was some sort of mystery or something that we don't know surrounding the sinking of the Fitz puzzles me. Maybe its just more fascinating for people if some sort of mystery is involved.

By P C, Drummond Island, MI on Monday, December 8, 2003 - 11:54 am:

Dave of Mohawk --
Agree 100% with your question:where's the mystery?
Seems to me the REAL mystery would be about any ship that gets THROUGH one of those autumn storms. All the talk about "mystery" and "cover-up" is hogwash. All one needs to do is to stand on the beach during one of those November storms, just about anywhere around the upper Lakes,and watch its power. The breakers actually shake the ground you're standing on, even if you're standing on bedrock. Y'all need to read Frederick Stonehouse's book abot the sinking of FITZGERALD. There are a lot of pieces of information to consider. I agree with Stonehouse -- FITZGERALD probably sank because of her damaged hatch coamings. The reports from ANDERSON's log & crew vis-a-vis FITZ's passage ove the shoal are not coherent. Nothing against ANDERSON, but they didn't know FITZGERALD was about to sink. Remember, it was Anderson who first reported that FITZGERALD was missing, maybe no more that moments after the fact. Also agree with all who have mentioned that the FITZ wreck was not the only wreck that has happened in modern times.

By WOLFF on Monday, May 9, 2005 - 08:19 pm:

I wish to encourage everyone to listen to my song titled "Shove On Fitzgerald" which is a tribute to the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald. You can find a sample of this song at:

I hope you all enjoy it.

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