Queen of the West

Ship Name: Queen of the West 
Also Known As: None 
Type of Ship: Steamer, Propeller, Wooden Hull, Oak  
Ship Size: 215' x 32.50' x 16.33' 
Ship Owner: C.L. Hutchinson and other partners, Cleveland, Ohio 
Gross Tonnage: 818.84 
Net Tonnage: 625 
Typical Cargo: Bulk Freight, Iron Ore, Coal, Grain 
Year Built: 1881 - West Bay City, MI by William Crosthwaite Shipyards 
Official Wreck Number: 20584 
Wreck Location: 41 50.750 N 81 23.160 W (Alchem) 
Type of Ship at Loss: Same 
Cargo on Ship at Loss: Iron Ore 
Captain of Ship at Loss: Captain Massey 

Approximately 8 miles north of Fairport Harbor, Ohio

This wreck is rather deep (71 feet) and is recommended for advanced divers. Much of the wooden hull and timbers are gone, with the bow being the most intact structure. The stern area is either gone or fallen to the bottom. The most impressive remains of this wreck are the huge engine, boiler, winches, chain and the bow windlass. The midsection decking of the wreck is gone, leaving the hull open. This popular shipwreck is scheduled for mooring buoy placement by MAST in the near future. ( C. Kohl, Vitas Kijaskas- Discovery Dive Charters)


According to an article in the Buffalo Evening News August 21, 1903, the Queen of the West was headed for Erie Pennsylvania from Escanaba, Michigan, with a load of iron ore. She stopped briefly in Cleveland to leave an accompanying vessel, the Sage, and then proceeded on her journey into building seas. At approximately 4 AM, the oak hull was found to have sprung a rather serious leak. The pumps were not able to keep up with the flow pouring into the hull, and with the seas building and washing over the deck, she began sinking. A distress signal was sent out, and the crew attempted to launch a lifeboat, only to have it overturned in the high waves. As the crew had almost lost all hope, another vessel, the steamer Codorus, appeared on the site and took the crew off the sinking ship. The rescue was quite precarious in the heavy seas, with some of the crew being injured during the transfer. Two passengers, the daughters of the Chief Engineer, were noted to have been almost swept overboard in the heavy seas while waiting to be rescued. Just minutes after the last of the crew had been taken onboard the Codorus, the Queen of the West slipped beneath the surface to her final resting place 70 feet below on Lake Erie's muddy bottom. Fortunately, no lives were lost in this mishap.  


The Queen of the West was rebuilt in 1901 at Cleveland, Ohio, resulting in a change in her tonnage capabilities (818 gross, 625 net to 876 gross, 588 net).  


Great Lakes Historical Society, Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center, Vermilion, Ohio

Buffalo Evening News, Friday, August 21, 1903; Saturday, August 22, 1903

Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Great Lakes Vessels Online Index - University Libraries / Bowling Green State University

Maritime History of the Great Lakes: Shipwrecks: - http://www.hhpl.on.ca/GreatLakes/Wrecks/Details

The Great Lakes Diving Guide, Chris Kohl, 2001, Seawolf Communications, Chicago

Great Lakes Guide to Sunken Ships, Karl. E. Heden, 1993, Branden Books Boston, Mass

Vitas Kijaskas- Discovery Dive Charters, Euclid, Ohio

Alchem.inc, http://www.alcheminc.com/ash


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