TBT: the Edmund Fitzgerald passes under the Ambassador Bridge on the Detroit River

29 men were on board the Edmund Fitzgerald on November 10, 1975. They never got off.

More than 40 years ago, the Edmund Fitzgerald was loaded up and set for Zug Island. It was supposed to pass through two of the Great Lakes but never escaped Lake Superior. This week's Throwback Thursday is an homage to the large ship that was claimed by a storm in the Great Lakes.

The ship was built in 1957 and 1958 by Great Lakes Engineering Works. On June 8, 1958, she was christened and set off on her maiden voyage three months later as the largest ship on the Great Lakes, at the time.

Two years later, she passed under the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit. That's when the photo above was snapped, as The Fitz travels down the Detroit River, with much better weather.

For 17 years, the ship hauled materials and goods from one side of the Great Lakes to the other. On November 9, 1975, it was loaded up with taconite pellets in Superior, Wisconsin and was bound for Zug Island in Detroit. The next day,  a monstrous storm brought gale force winds and a blinding snow storm. As the ship tried to outrun the storm to the south, it was broad sided with winds from the west.

17 miles from Whitefish Bay, the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald sank in 530 feet of water in Lake Superior. There were no survivors and all 29 men remain entombed with the ship.

In 1976, singer Gordon Lightfoot immortalized the ship and its crew in his haunting ballad, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” 

FOX 2 thanks the Detroit Historical Society for this and all of our Throwback Thursday posts.


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