Ship Name: Adventure 
Also Known As: None 
Type of Ship: Originally schooner, converted to propeller steamer 
Ship Size: 108 .5' length x 24 breath of beam x 8.3 1/2 ' depth of hold 
Ship Owner: Charles and John Beyschlag, Joseph Lowes, St. Clair Shores, Michigan 
Gross Tonnage: 148 
Net Tonnage: 141 
Typical Cargo: Limestone in wooden barrels 
Year Built: 1875 - Detroit, Michigan by John Oades as two masted schooner; rebuilt by Henry D. Root for J. M. Robinson and Fredrick Groch in 1897, Sandusky, Ohio. Constructed of white oak. 
Official Wreck Number: 105567 
Wreck Location: 41 37.085 N 82 40.867 W (GHLS/Ohio Sea Grant Dive Slate) North Bay of Kelly's Island, State Archeological site # 33ER481 
Type of Ship at Loss: Propeller Steamer 
Cargo on Ship at Loss: Barrels of burned limestone. Cargo was salvaged. 
Captain of Ship at Loss: Captain John Lowes 

Depending upon Lake Erie's changing water levels, the wreck lies in approximately 5-7 feet of water, with the major portion of the (108 feet) wreck parallel to shore. Waves and ice have scattered much of the wreck. Remains include burned timbers, planking, frame, centerboard trunk, amidships winch, propeller, some machinery (pipes, flywheel, crankshaft, etc.) See OSG Dive Slate, OHSU-GS-020 for more detail.

The wreck site provides habitat for numerous fish species, including smallmouth bass, rock bass, sunfish, and the aquatic invading species the round goby. Other fish species observed include common carp, white sucker, and the occasional yellow perch. The wreck is encrusted by sharp edged zebra and quagga mussels, which can result in mild to severe cuts to the unprotected and careless diver. White and yellowed hued freshwater sponges can also be observed growing on zebra and quagga mussels.

During warm summer months, various species of submerged aquatic plants are observed on and around the wreck, with the occasional Lake Erie watersnake (a protected species) foraging the site for a meal of round gobies.The site is popular among divers, specifically snorkelers, due to the shallow depth and relatively clear water. The close proximity of the shipwreck Hanna allows divers and snorkelers to visit two wreck sites from one anchor point.

(Kelch, personal observations, U/W Video)


October 7, 1903. Sailed from Sandusky, Ohio to Kelleys Island, Ohio, on October 6. Loaded cargo of burned limestone in wooden barrels on October 7 at the Kelleys Island Lime and Transport Company's North Bay Dock. Caught fire at the dock, with origin suspected to be boiler area, or the wet limestone caught fire. Flames spread rapidly, with captain, his wife and young daughter, and the crew narrowly escaping with their lives. All personal belongings were lost, according to an article in the Sandusky Evening Star (October 8, 1903). The steam tug L.P. Smith towed the burning Adventure away from the dock and into the North Bay. This action was credited with saving both the wooden dock structure and the schooner Alex Anderson, which was also docked near the Adventure. The ship and its cargo were a total loss, with the vessel burning to the waterline and sinking approximately 200 feet offshore in 15 feet of water off Long Point in the Kelleys Island North Bay. The vessel was not insured, with loss estimated at $2500 for the vessel and $1500 for the cargo  


As wreckage was nearshore and in a protected bay, artifacts were removed over the years, including the boilers by commercial salvagers soon after the wreck occurred. The 1600 lb. propeller was taken from the wreck site in 1964 by a Newark, Ohio, dive club, and was displayed beside the flagpole at the Newark YMCA until 1992, when the flagpole was dismantled and the propeller ending up in a scrap metal pile behind the Heath, Ohio, city maintenance garage. During 1997, the same dive club which removed the propeller (Poseidon Dive Club) organized an effort to place the propeller back at the wreck site, which transpired on October 17, 1997. This was the first time a major artifact was replaced to the shipwreck site of origin in Lake Erie. The action is hoped to encourage further artifact returns in the future. ( Labadie and Herdendorf report, April, 1998, Ohio Sea Grant, SG 63-97, LEPF Grant report) A complete, through report of the Adventure is available from:

Labadie, C. P.and C. E. Herdendorf,2004. Wreck of the Steam Barge ADVENTURE: An Archaeological Investigation in Lake Erie at Kelleys Island, Ohio. Great Lakes Historical Society, Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center Technical Report No. 1, Vermilion, OH. 44 pp



Labadie, C. P.and C. E. Herdendorf. 1998. The Steamer Adventure and the Kelleys Island Limestone Industry. Final Project Rept. SG 63-97, Ohio Lake Erie Commission, Toledo, OH. and Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, OH. 74 pp

Labadie, C. P. and C. E. Herdendorf. 2004a. Wreck of the Steam Barge Adventure: An Archaeological Investigation in Lake Erie at Kelleys Island, Ohio. Great Lakes Historical Society, Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center Technical Report No. 1, Vermilion, OH. 44 pp

Labadie, Herdendorf, April 1998, report to the Lake Erie Protection Fund: SG 63-97, "The Steamer Adventure and the Kelleys Island, Ohio, Limestone Industry" (also Ohio Sea Grant report)

Great Lakes Historical Society, Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center (GLHS/PLESRC), P.O. Box 435, 480 Main Street, Vermilion, Ohio 44089 Historical Files and Photo Collections

Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center Technical Report #1

Profile of Shipwrecks in the Vicinity of Kelleys Island, Lake Erie

Herdendorf, Pansing

November 2000

The Great Lakes Diving Guide, Cris Kohl 2001, Seawolf Communications, Inc. P.O. Box 66, West Chicago, Illinois 60186 (416 pgs.)

Sandusky Evening Star (October 8, 1903)

D. Kelch, personal dive information and observations, D. Kelch U/W video segment


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