When divers discovered the New York, a 133-year-old wooden steamer that sank in 240 feet of water more than a century ago during a storm on Lake Huron, the shipwreck hunter David Trotter was elated.
The find earlier this year was the culmination of Trotter’s two-year quest for the ship, and marked his latest -discovery in the Great Lakes — in the course of 35 years, Trotter has found more than 90 vessels in four of the lakes.
The ship was carrying coal from Detroit to Ontario in October 1910 when it was hit by a fierce storm. It began to take on water, and the fires in its boilers went out. The Mataafa, another steamer that was passing the New York, turned around to help.
“In the scheme of things, the New York ranks as one of the more-important discoveries because of its place in Great Lakes history, its size and the heroics of the captain of the Mataafa saving the crew of the New York,” Trotter says.
The find is expected to shed light on how ships were built during the late 19th century. The 283-foot steamship was the largest wooden steamer in existence when it was built in 1879.
Divers discovered it resting upright, with a damaged stern and broken stacks nearby, about 40 miles north of the tip of Michigan’s “thumb.” The team made about 30 dives, from July through September 2012. They took measurements and looked for artifacts — leaving behind what they found — in order to determine its identity.
» Get more To view a video about the New York, go to shipwreck1.com.