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Crossroads of Tragedy: Maritime Disasters in the Straits of Mackinac

The Great Lakes have claimed thousands of shipwrecks since vessels first started traversing these waters in the 1600’s. The Straits of Mackinac, an intersection for the northern lakes, has been the scene of numerous tragedies caused by collisions, groundings, and founderings. This presentation will look at several vessels including the Eber Ward, William H. Barnum and Cedarville that met their fate in the straits. It will also discuss the 1943 sinking and eventual salvage of the steamer George M. Humphrey.

Image Captions:
George M. Humphrey (cover): The Humphrey collided with the steamer D.M. Clemson just offshore from Mackinaw City in June 1943. With World War II in progress and the Humphrey’s wreck located in a vital shipping lane, the vessel needed to be salvaged or dynamited to allow shipping to continue.

Cedarville Survivors (right): Ralph Przybyla, Stanley Mulka and Jerome Kierzek getting off the United States Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw (WAGB -83) after their ship, SS Cedarville collided with the Norwegian vessel Topdalsfjord in May 1965.