Vessel Type: Motor: steam barge
GPS Location: N44°48.903' W83°16.955'
Depth: 7 feet
Wreck Length: 140 feet
Beam: 31 feet
Gross Tonnage: 394
Launched: 1892 by Carpenter Brothers in Sebewaing, Michigan
Wrecked: October 7, 1896
Description: According to the Detroit Tribune, the tug Loretta “was always considered an unlucky boat, having been in dry dock every season since coming out.” On the morning of October 7, 1896, Loretta was awaiting repairs at Black River when a fire ignited under its boiler. The fire jumped to a nearby dock, destroying 500,000 feet of lumber, 150,000 shingles, and 219 feet of the dock. The tug was towed into the lake, where it continued to burn until it sank.
Today, the wreck sits in seven feet of water. Divers, snorkelers and paddlers can explore the tug’s stern, which features the propeller shaft and broken machinery. The four-bladed cast-iron propeller is missing its blades. The wooden keelson is encased in iron to protect it during loading and unloading. Charred wood and dropped fasteners are evidence of the fire that sank Loretta.
Great Lakes Maritime Collection digital archive: http://greatlakeships.org/2903674/data?n=1