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Possible 'Lake Serpent' discovery would be oldest shipwreck in Lake Erie

Historical Collections of the Great Lakes at Bowling Green State University
This typical 19th-century schooner is similar in size and rigging to the Lake Serpent, which went down in Lake Erie in 1829. The National Museum of the Great Lakes believes it's the ship in a recently discovered wreck.

The National Museum of the Great Lakes is hoping there’s a serpent at the bottom of Lake Erie.

The serpent in question isn’t a new type of invasive species. It’s the Lake Serpent, a shipping schooner lost in 1829.

Credit Tom Kowalczk, Cleveland Underwater Explorers
In 2015, the National Museum of the Great Lakes and the Cleveland Underwater Explorers discovered what may be the Lake Serpent schooner.

The museum recently announced the discovery of a shipwreck off Kelleys Island in the western end of Lake Erie. The staff first learned about the find in 2015 and has since narrowed down the possibilities to three ships. The museum is planning a 10-day excavation this summer to determine if it is, in fact, the Lake Serpent. If it is, it would be the oldest shipwreck in Lake Erie. 

The museum has raised about $6,000 of the estimated  $13,000 cost of the excavation.

Chris Gillcrist is the executive director of the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo.

He told Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition host Doug Tribou that shipwrecks are transportation disasters, but unlike plane or train crashes, “shipwrecks are more likely than not found in their original locale, and are like time capsules waiting to be discovered.”

(Click the play button above to hear their conversation.)

Doug Tribou joined the Michigan Public staff as the host of Morning Edition in 2016. Doug first moved to Michigan in 2015 when he was awarded a Knight-Wallace journalism fellowship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
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