Duncan City

diver swimming over the wreck of duncan city
Sunlight dapples the shallow wreck site of the wooden tugboat Duncan City.

Vessel Type: Motor: tug

GPS Location : N45°24.787' W83°45.733'

Depth: 15 feet

Wreck Length: 104 feet

Beam: 19 feet

Gross Tonnage: 112

Cargo: Light

Launched: 1883 by Rand and Burger in Manitowoc, Wisconsin

Wrecked: Circa 1923

Mooring buoy: Number 19 on the map

Description: Three well-preserved shipwrecks that tell the story of Rogers City's limestone industry rest just offshore of the Calcite quarry loading docks in clear, shallow water. All three have mooring buoys maintained by Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and divers, paddlers, and snorkelers can easily access them.

The Michigan Limestone and Chemical Company (MLCC) purchased the wooden tug W.G. Mason in 1914. W.G. Mason spent 10 years breaking ice and towing sailing vessels in and out of the harbor before it was dismantled and abandoned by the company in 1924. The remains of this workhorse lie in 13 feet of water. Visitors can see its four-bladed propeller and machinery components from the surface.

In 1918, the MLCC purchased another wooden tug to keep up with shipping demands. Duncan City assisted inbound and outbound ships until it was decommissioned and sunk in 1923. The wreck lies several hundred feet away from W.G. Mason. Visitors can explore the preserved tug and see the massive limestone boulders used to sink Duncan City when it was deemed "unfit for service."

Also nearby is the 167-foot schooner Chester B. Jones, which spent its final days as a barge serving the quarry. Abandoned in 1924, this beautiful shipwreck is a classic example of a Great Lakes centerboard schooner for divers, paddlers, and snorkelers to discover.

Great Lakes Maritime Collection digital archive: http://greatlakeships.org/2907476/data?n=1

wrecked propeller sitting at the lake bottom
A scuba diver explores the wreckage of the working tug Duncan City.
diver swimming over the wreck of duncan city
The propeller of the tug Duncan City rests in view of the lake's surface.