Vessel Type: Motor: package freighter
GPS Location: N45° 17.781’ W83° 17.011’
Depth: 206 feet
Wreck Length: 270 feet
Beam: 40 feet
Gross Tonnage: 2103
Cargo: Package freight; wheat
Built: 1889 by Robert Mills at Buffalo, New York
Wrecked: May 21, 1897
Description: The steamer Florida, a large package freighter, carried anything shipped in boxes, barrels, or bags, in addition to regular bulk cargo, such as corn and coal. Though powered by a large steam engine, Florida was built at a time when steamships still carried sails and was fully rigged with three masts.
On May 20, 1897, while traveling in a dense fog off Presque Isle, Florida collided with George Roby. The impact cut Florida nearly in half. The steamer sank so quickly that its stern was crushed when it hit the bottom. Air trapped in the bow blew the pilot house clear off the ship, and debris floated on the lake’s surface for days. Fortunately, George Roby rescued Florida’s entire crew.
Sitting in 206 feet of water and almost completely intact, Florida is an incredible dive site. The impacts of the collision and sinking are visible, and the obliterated stern allows divers to explore a cross-section of the wreck. All three masts still lie along the sunken freighter’s deck.
Great Lakes Maritime Collection digital archive: http://greatlakeships.org/2896540/data?n=1