Video shows discovery of shipwreck after boats mysteriously vanished in 1914

WHITEFISH POINT, Mich. — The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, along with Marine Sonic Technology, has announced the discovery of two vessels that sank in Lake Superior on Nov. 18, 1914.

On that day, the Steamship C.F. Curtis was towing the schooner barges Selden E. Marvin and Annie M. Peterson from Baraga, Michigan, to Tonawanda, New York, all with a load of lumber. The three ships encountered a powerful storm, and all three were never seen again. Twenty-eight lives were lost.

In 2021, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society located nine lost vessels, including the C.F. Curtis. But, the Marvin and Peterson remained missing.

The name of the Selden E. Marvin is visible on the shipwreck.

One year later, in the summer of 2022, the crew of the shipwreck society's research vessel, David Boyd, came across another shipwreck within a few miles of the Curtis. Using the organization's remotely operated vehicle on the wreck revealed it was the Marvin.

Society officials said finding the Curtis and the Marvin are significant historic discoveries in American history, as they were all part of Hines Lumber, one of the biggest lumber companies of that era. On Nov. 18, 1914, they lost almost one quarter of their fleet in a single storm.

Ric Mixter, society board member and maritime historian, recalled the raw emotion and joy of the new find. The moment was captured on film by the shipwreck society.

“It was a career highlight to have witnessed the discovery of the Marvin,” Mixter said, “As it not only solved a chapter in the nation’s darkest day in lumber history, but also showcased a team of historians who have dedicated their lives towards making sure these stories aren’t forgotten.”

Bruce Lynn, executive director of the shipwreck society, added: “The combined losses of the C.F. Curtis, Selden E. Marvin and Annie M. Peterson have comprised one of the more tragic stories of shipwreck on the Great Lakes and certainly became one of the Lake Superior’s enduring mysteries. To locate the Curtis and Marvin in a space of two years has been amazing … now we just have to find the Peterson!”

The Edward Hines Lumber Company name is visible on the shipwreck.

The shipwreck society is continuing the search for the still-missing Peterson.

“It’s one of our goals to find the Peterson," said Director of Marine Operations Darryl Ertel. "It would be great to know where all three wrecks are lying on the bottom of Superior, and finally be able to tell the stories of the Curtis, Marvin and Peterson.”

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