Vessel Type: Motor: steam barge
GPS Location: N45°24.613’ W83°45.983’
Depth: 194 feet
Wreck Length: 136 feet
Beam: 29 feet
Gross Tonnage: 288
Launched: 1866 by E.M. Peck at Cleveland, Ohio
Wrecked: November 12, 1890
Mooring buoy: None
Description: “Fire! Fire! Cut the Messenger free!” This was the cry heard when the propeller-driven steam barge Messenger met its end on November 10, 1890. Docked in Rogers City, the 24-year-old steamer awaited departure as the crew finished dinner. Suddenly a massive fire erupted from the smokestack. An inferno, fueled by the cedar posts that filled the steamer’s holds, quickly engulfed the ship as the crew fled to safety. The crew cut Messenger’s lines from the pier to prevent the flames from spreading to the dock and nearby piles of lumber. Safe on shore, they watched Messenger relentlessly burn as it drifted miles out into Lake Huron.The vessel came to rest in 194 feet of water, four miles from the harbor.
Not surprisingly, most of the steamer’s upper hull and deck cabins are gone, having burned all the way to the waterline. The lower hull is intact, and divers can easily see signs of the damage caused by the fire. Preserved by Lake Huron’s cold, fresh water, Messenger’s engine, boilers, anchor, and rudder are highlights for visitors to this shipwreck.
Great Lakes Maritime Collection digital archive: http://greatlakeships.org/2907414/data?n=1