The sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald

by Anonymous on Nov. 10th, 2008

Doomed ship: The SS Edmund Fitzgerald in quieter times.
Doomed ship: The SS Edmund Fitzgerald in quieter times.Courtesy Wikipedia
Thirty-three years ago today, the Great Lakes freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in a Lake Superior storm taking with it all 29 hands. Storm on Lake Superior: The top of the lighthouse sets about 50 feet above the lake surface at the end of the north breakwater of Duluth's canal (click on thumbnail image for a cleaner version).
Storm on Lake Superior: The top of the lighthouse sets about 50 feet above the lake surface at the end of the north breakwater of Duluth's canal (click on thumbnail image for a cleaner version).Courtesy Lake Superior Marine Museum Association
Unsecured hatches and rogue waves whipped up by the winter gale are thought to have caused the sinking.The wave sequence to the right gives a good illustration of how nasty Lake Superior can get during one of its storms.Wreckage of the Fitz was later discovered in 530 feet of water about 17 miles west of the entrance to Whitefish Bay. The disaster was immortalized in Gordon Lightfoot's song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, and every year the Mariners' Church in Detroit, Michigan memorializes the sinking by ringing its bell 29 times, once for each life lost in the disaster.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Alvarado's picture
Alvarado says:

Its been a long time ago that it happened but we still remember it.

posted on Mon, 11/10/2008 - 12:19pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Not a day has gone by this fall that I haven't remembered the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Granted, I was negative 8-years-old at the time, but my cubicle is located directly under the Science Museum's omnitheater, which is currently playing "Mysteries of the Great Lakes." Every hour or so, I'm treated to the concrete-distorted, electro-folk wail of that particular ballad.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa down indeed.

posted on Mon, 11/10/2008 - 1:35pm
iowaboy's picture
iowaboy says:

since i grew up outside minnesota i was largely unfamiliar with the story of the edmund fitzgerald. like many, i am mainly familiar with it due to the song dedicated to it.
this in many ways is typical though, so many examples of how something is remembered because it finds a way into pop culture. the band led zeppelin from the 1970s put a picture of the exploding hindenburg airship on its first album cover, and then there was a ducktales episode about a disaster movie called the 'hindentanic', combining the hindenburg with another disaster, the titanic.

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 9:57am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

I'm pretty sure that's the first Ducktales reference on Science Buzz. I can't believe you beat me to it, but I salute you.

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 11:45am
iowaboy's picture
iowaboy says:

thank you for the salute on the ducktales reference, i guess watching a lot of t.v. when i grew up is finally paying off.

my guess as to why the fitz isn't as remembered as well as the titanic as people are more fascinated with the lives of the rich and famous, and the titanic was a luxury liner.

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 12:43pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald 36 Year Anniversary
November 10, 2011

RIVER ROUGE — A memorial service is planned for Thursday November 10, 2011 to remember the 29 men who died when the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975.
The ceremony is set for 6 to 8 p.m. and the heated tent open at 4:30 p.m. for viewing Edmund Fitzgerald artifacts, near the Mariners Memorial Lighthouse at Belanger Park, off Belanger Park Drive and Marion.
The event is held in River Rouge because that’s the city where the vessel was built in 1957 and ’58.
Several speakers will give their memories of the ship, including people who helped construct it and relatives of some of the deceased crewmen.
Artifacts, photographs and videos also will be on display and you can talk to the Fitz Ship Builders, past Crew Members and Fitz Family Members.
At 7:10 p.m. — the time the ship sank — a wreath will be tossed into the Detroit River. A bell will be rung 29 times in memory of each person who died.
A plaque presentation and lantern lighting is planned. Food and Refreshments will be provided free of charge.
Event organizer Roscoe Clark has a Web site devoted to the vessel, which contains several video clips and photos of the ship, at
Earlier in the day, an Edmund Fitzgerald open house will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. at the River Rouge Historical Museum, 10750 W. Jefferson Ave.
This year, the service will be web cast free of charge for those viewers all across the US and Canada. Go to the official web site
For more information and location call Roscoe Clark at (810) 519-2148.
This is a special program held each year and is free of charge.

posted on Thu, 10/20/2011 - 3:01pm

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