Alvin Buckingham

Wreck of Alvin Buckingham
Timber frames peek out from from the remains of the Alvin Buckinham’s hull.

Vessel Type: Sail: Wooden two-masted schooner

GPS Location: N44°50.459' W83°17.123'

Depth: 8 Feet

Wreck Length: 124.5 Feet

Beam: 25 Feet

Gross Tonnage: 286

Cargo: Iron Ore (specula magnetite)

Launched: 1853 by Alanson Gilmore in Perrysburg, Ohio

Wrecked: October 19, 1870

Mooring Buoy Data

Description: Lake Huron’s shallow, rocky reefs are an ever-present danger to Great Lakes shipping. Early in the morning of October 19, 1870, the schooner Alvin Buckingham sprang a leak while sailing off Black River near Harrisville, Michigan. In an attempt to save the ship, the crew made a desperate run towards shore, but the ship went aground on a reef in eight feet of water. The crew abandoned the ship. A passing steamer provided assistance, rescuing the entire crew. Over time, Lake Huron’s wind and waves broke apart Alvin Buckingham.

Nearly 35 years later, in early May 1905, the schooner William H. Rounds was driven onto the same rocky reef by a powerful storm. Its remains came to rest only 550 yards from those of Alvin Buckingham, and its crew managed to safely escape the wreck. The storm, however, pounded William H. Rounds’ hull, and the schooner was a total loss.

Today, both hulls are fairly intact and rest in less than 10 feet of water 1.2 miles from shore. The proximity to shore and the clear water of Lake Huron make these shipwrecks a popular place for divers, snorkelers, and paddlers to explore.

Great Lakes Maritime Collection digital archive:

Research diver taking notes over Alvin Buckingham
Diver records shipwreck construction details.
Wreck of Alivin Buckingham
Diver surveys hull remains.