Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary


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Northern Light
Historic Research Collection

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GPS Location: N44° 39.616’ W83° 17.209’
Depth: 2 Feet
Wreck Length: 211 Feet Beam: 30 Feet
Gross Tonnage: 857 Cargo: 
Launched: 1858 by Lafrinier and Stevenson in Cleveland, Ohio
Wrecked: August 1881
Description: Northern Light was originally built as a passenger/package freight propeller to service the Cleveland-Lake Superior route. Propellers like Northern Light were instrumental in supporting the fledgling copper and later iron ore industries of the Upper Peninsula. Once the Soo Locks were built in 1855, propellers like Northern Light delivered people, manufactured goods, and supplies to those burgeoning Lake Superior ports. Because of predictable schedules made possible by the reliability of steam engines, and their ability to carry varied cargo and passengers, the passenger/package freight propeller was the vessel of choice to support early industry on Lake Superior’s southern shore. Northern Light’s machinery was thereafter removed in 1873, and Northern Light served as a lumber barge. Several years later, in 1881, the barge was lost along the northwest end of the present-day Harrisville marina. When lake water levels are low, Northern Light’s broken remains occasionally surface and can be seen from the marina’s parking lot.


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wreck coordinates Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center