Vessel Type: Motor: wooden bulk freight barge
GPS Location: N45° 03.742’ W83° 23.555’
Depth: 17 feet
Wreck Length: 287 Feet
Beam: 40 Feet
Gross Tonnage: 2323
Launched: 1888 by James Davidson at West Bay City, Michigan
Wrecked: September 22, 1917
Description: Just 1.5 miles north of the Thunder Bay River mouth rests the nearly intact remains of a huge barge, William P. Rend. Built in 1888, William P. Rend was among the largest wooden freighters on the Great Lakes. It worked for decades hauling bulk cargo such as coal, iron, and limestone.
On September 22, 1917, William P. Rend made its last run. Loaded with crushed limestone, the behemoth sprang a leak and quickly sank in 17 feet of water. No lives were lost, but attempts to refloat the barge failed and it was abandoned. Stretching the length of a football field, William P. Rend invites divers, snorkelers, and paddlers to explore a marvel of naval engineering. Its heavily built wooden sides nearly reach the lake surface, and iron bands that reinforce the massive hull crisscross the wreck. Near the stern, a boiler is toppled over on its side with other machinery. Willliam P. Rend's cargo, still within its massive holds, can be seen from the surface.
Great Lakes Maritime Collection digital archive: http://greatlakeships.org/2907522/data?n=1