Kyle Spangler

The wheel and rudder of a shipwreck
Stern view of the schooner Kyle Spangler with ship’s wheel and cabin intact.

Vessel Type: Sail: wooden two-masted schooner

GPS Location: N45° 23.011’ W83° 26.115’

Depth: 180 feet

Wreck Length: 130 feet

Beam: 26 feet

Gross Tonnage: 350

Cargo: Corn

Launched: 1856 by William Jones at Black River, Ohio

Wrecked: November 7, 1860

Mooring Buoy Data

Description: Kyle Spangler is one of the most intact canal schooners preserved in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. It is a stunning shipwreck site to visit. With masts still upright, anchors hanging from the bow, bilge pumps, aft cabin, ship’s wheel, and name plate all still in place, the shipwreck is an amazing example of a mid-19th-century Great Lakes sailing schooner. The only damage on the wreck is the broken bow, a result of the collision that sank the vessel.

Kyle Spangler was also one of many Great Lakes vessels that periodically worked on the ocean. In 1859, it left the lakes by way of Buffalo, New York. First arriving in Boston, Massachusetts, the schooner made New York City on September 30. Once back on the lakes, Kyle Spangler resumed carrying bulk cargo with loads of lumber and corn.

Less than a year after returning to the lakes, on November 7, 1860, the schooner collided with the schooner Racine off Presque Isle. In less than 10 minutes, Kyle Spangler sank with its cargo of 15,000 bushels of wheat. It was not seen again until its discovery in 2003. The Kyle Spangler is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Great Lakes Maritime Collection digital archive:

360 Virtual Dive:

Explore the deep site of the sunken schooner Kyle Spangler in this video.
wooden pieces of a shipwreck
Two technical divers investigate the split-open bow of the schooner Kyle Spangler.
site plan of kyle spangler
Archaeological site plan of the wooden schooner Kyle Spangler.
Photomosaic of a wooden shipwreck
Photomosaic of the wooden schooner Kyle Spangler.
Two divers swim near a shipwreck
Two divers descend on the site of the shipwreck Kyle Spangler; its two intact masts loom in the background.