Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Diver discovers shipwreck near Port Washington


Star Tribune
August 30, 2005

PORT WASHINGTON, Wis. - A diver has found the wreckage of a wooden ship 60 feet below the surface of Lake Michigan southeast of Port Washington.

Brad Ingersoll, 44, a landscape contractor from the nearby community of Belgium who has only been diving for three years, said Monday he spotted a steam pump, an anchor, the ship's rudder, part of a kerosene lamp and china Saturday.

Ingersoll believes the wreck is that of the Mahoning, which sank in December of 1864 while being towed to Milwaukee.

Brendon Baillod, a Great Lakes maritime historian, and Ingersoll are confident the wreck is the Mahoning because it is the same size - 120 feet - as that craft, it is in the area where the ship was lost and a steam pump was found at the site.

Two steam pumps were on the deck of the Mahoning to siphon off water filling the ship's hold after it ran aground near Sheboygan, and salvagers in 1865 recovered one of them.

Baillod said Ingersoll is not the first to discover the ship, but he is the first to publicize it.

"A lot of these guys don't like to go public with these finds because if something is missing from the wreck, they get blamed,'' said Baillod, who published an article on the Mahoning in 1998 in Inland Seas, the journal of the Great Lakes Historical Society.

"This is the first fellow to go public, which is a good thing because then it can be filmed, documented, and the state Historical Society can do a survey of it,'' Baillod said.

Ingersoll contacted state underwater archaeologist Keith Meverden, who plans to dive to the wreck soon.

All shipwrecks in state waters are protected, which means taking anything from them is unlawful, Merveden said.

Ingersoll is hopeful the Mahoning will attract more scuba divers to Port Washington.

"I love to take the new guys on my boat and drop them on a wreck and have them see a piece of china, a steam engine, boilers, and see their eyes light up,'' he said. "After that, they're full-fledged hooked.''


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?