39th Anniversary Of The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald

The Edmund Fitzgerald on the St. Mary’s River near Sault Ste. Marie, May 1975. (Bob Campbell photo / News-Tribune files)

Monday – Nov. 10, 2014 – is the 39th anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in a massive storm on Lake Superior. The freighter’s crew of 29 men, including several from the Northland, died when the ship sank in eastern Lake Superior off Whitefish Point on Nov. 10, 1975; it had been heading from Superior to Detroit with a load of taconite.

A little after 7 p.m. that day, the Fitzgerald was in radio contact with the nearby Arthur M. Anderson, and reported that they were “holding our own” in heavy seas. There was no further contact with the freighter; minutes later the ship had disappeared from radar screens.

I compiled a number of archive photos and other information about the Fitzgerald in 2010, on the 35th anniversary of the wreck. You can view that post here.

Among the items posted there is this well-done video for Gordon Lightfoot’s famous song about the wreck:

Split Rock Lighthouse northeast of Two Harbors will host its annual beacon lighting and memorial service for the victims of the Fitzgerald, and all Great Lakes wrecks, on Monday afternoon. They will toll a bell 29 times for each man who lost his life on the Fitzgerald, and then toll the bell a 30th time for all lost mariners. After that, the lighthouse’s beacon will be lit. It’s the only time each year when visitors can climb to the top of the tower while the beacon is lit and revolving.

The lighthouse will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday; the memorial service is at 4:30 p.m. Admission is $7 per person, free for Minnesota Historical Society members.

Here’s a News Tribune video of the Nov. 10, 2011, memorial ceremony at Split Rock:

Share your memories by posting a comment.

7 Responses

  1. Keith Gould

    Im from Ont Canada and even though the great ship went down off Whitefish Point in our waters there are people here that will never forget the lives that were lost on that fateful day.And a special thanks to the late Bernie Cooper and the rest of the crew of the Arthur M Anderson who did not give up hope of finding your loved ones while putting themselves in harms way.R.I.P

  2. kevin stewart

    a great tribute to those who sail one of the most dangerous bodies of water on earth. may all who sail on the lakes have fair winds and clear skies on their journeys. my thoughts are with you all…

  3. Dan Currier

    Growing up in Milwaukee on Lake Michigan, the sinking of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald has always fascinated me since the day I read about it in the old Milwaukee Journal. I’ve been to the Shipwreck Museum in Whitefish Point, Mich. to see the original ship bell and some of the other artifacts. Enjoy this interview by my old college radio station WUWM and please keep the victims in your thoughts and prayers on this anniversary. Also, thank you Gordon Lightfoot for writing a great song.

  4. rystal Bergren

    My son sailed on the Fitz. I had the pleasure of being on the Fitz many times.

    My son sailed on the Fitz. I had the pleasure of being on the Fitz many times. The food was great.

  5. Donna Slocum

    I remember that very day. I was watching the weather as it was getting pretty stormy & I had heard the ship was going to go out in that storm. I was watching from the windows of our house in Lakeside. Not long after we all heard the awful news that the ship was missing. Peace be with all of them.

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