Barge No. 1

scan of Barge No. 1 wreck
Side scan sonar image shows of the wreck site of Barge No. 1.

Vessel Type: Wooden car ferry barge

GPS Location: N45° 00.919’ W83° 18.238’

Depth: 42 Feet

Wreck Length: 309 Feet

Beam: 44 Feet

Gross Tonnage: 1544

Cargo: Lumber, Chickens

Launched: 1895 by James Davidson at West Bay City, Michigan

Wrecked: November 8, 1918

Mooring Buoy Data

Description: Four huge barges were constructed in 1895 for the Lake Michigan Car Ferry Barge Company, to carry rail cars from Peshtigo, Wisconsin to Chicago. They were named simply: No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4.

In 1910, No. 1 was sold, subsequently operating out of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, carrying pulpwood and bulk freights. It ran onto a reef near Thunder Bay’s North Point during a storm, and began breaking up. Crates of live chickens from its cargo reportedly washed ashore on Thunder Bay Island and were recovered and eaten by lighthouse keepers and the U.S. Life Saving Station crew on the island.

Great Lakes Maritime Collection digital archive:

Barge No. 1 wreck underwater
Barge No. 1’s triangular-shaped steering quadrant sits on top of the rudder post, providing some relief on this shallow shipwreck site.
Barge No. 1 wreck with diver
Another view of Barge No. 1’s triangular-shaped steering quadrant.