snorkeler diving on Albany
A snorkeler examines the sunken timbers of the sailing vessel Albany, a workhorse of the Great Lakes in the middle of the nineteenth century. Photo: PhoticZone

Vesssel Type: Motor: Paddle Wheeler

GPS Location: N45°19.396' W83°27.508'

Depth: 5 Feet

Wreck Length: 202 Feet

Beam: 29 Feet

Gross Tonnage: 669

Cargo: Provisions

Launched: 1846 by C.L. Gager in Detroit, Michigan

Wrecked: November 26, 1853

Mooring Buoy Data

Description: By the 1840s, tens of thousands of settlers arrived yearly in Buffalo, New York, in search of passage and opportunities further west. Fast, reliable and often opulent steamers, such as the sidewheeler Albany, carried these passengers across the Great Lakes to rapidly growing cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago.

On November 26, 1853, a gale swept Lake Huron and drove Albany ashore as it struggled toward refuge in Presque Isle Harbor. After surviving a harrowing night of fierce wind and waves, the nearly 200 passengers and crew were rescued by local boats. Salvage efforts, winter ice, and storms eventually tore the wooden ship apart.

Today, sections of the steamer rest in as little as five feet of water less than two miles from shore in Albany Bay, named in honor of the wreck. A seasonal mooring buoy marks a 100-foot section of Albany's lower hull and provides access to the wreck for paddlers, snorkelers, and divers.

Great Lakes Maritime Collection digital archive:

aerial of Albany with one paddler
A paddler peers over the side of her board at the wooden remains of the schooner Albany. Details of the vessel's construction are evident in the clear waters of Lake Huron. Photo: PhoticZone
aerial of Albany with one paddler dipping their hand into the water
A paddleboarder glides over the remains of the wooden schooner Albany, sunk in November, 1863. Note the sanctuary mooring buoy on the bottom left of the image - providing a safe means to explore the shipwreck site. Photo: PhoticZone