Michigan's Thumb Bottomland Preserve

The Thumb Bottomland Preserve has some of the most diverse and well preserved shipwrecks in the world.  Throughout time the passage from the St. Clair River through Lake Huron to the Straits of Mackinaw have been a critial and well used shipping route.  Unfortunately the limited good harbors and exposure to weather from Harbor Beach, Michigan to Harrisville, Michigan have led to many maritime accidents.

The Thumb Underwater Preserve area has over 20 shipwrecks and many shiphunters continue to search every year for new discoveries.  Recent discoveries have included the Clifton (a whaleback steamer), the Ohio (a wooden freighter), the Choctaw (a steel hulled freighter), and the Hydrus (a steel hulled freighter that sank in the the Great Storm of 1913). 

ALBANY - (N.44.06.351 W.082.42.016)
132 to 149 Feet Deep.
The Albany (267ft steel steamer) was involved in a collision with the Philadelphia on November 7th, 1893. After the collision the Albany was taken in tow and foundered while underway. The Albany now lies a few miles away from the Philadelphia which also sank. The Albany lies in approximately 140 feet of water. Her stern is sitting upright and intact. The midsection is broken up and the bow is fairly intact and sitting on its starboard side.
ALBANY Photo Archive

Barbara Lyn - (N.44.04.685 W.082.57.002)
20 Feet Deep.
The Barbara Lyn was originally lost on October 1st, 1990 about 12 miles north of Pte. Aux Barges in a storm.  The tug sunk in about 208 feet of water.  In 2014, a salvage attempt was made on the tug and the tug was successfully raised to the surface.  However, once brought to the surface the tug was grounded off of Port Austin as a storm and bad weather moved in.  The subsequent storm destroyed the pilothouse and re-sunk the tug in 20 ft of water.
BARBARA LYN Photo Archive

CHICKAMAUGA - (N.43.50.950 W.082.37.430)
32 Feet Deep.
The Chickamauga now sits in about 32 feet of water just outside of the Harbor Beach marina. The Chickamauga was a 322ft double deck schooner that foundered on September 12th, 1919.

CITY OF DETROIT - (N44.12.472 W083.00.841)
176 Feet Deep.
The City of Detroit foundered in a gale on December 6th, 1873 in Saginaw Bay with all hands of the City of Detroit lost. It was underway towing the barge Guiding Star when it encountered the gale. A crew of 7 of the Guiding Star made it to Port Elgin to recount the incident. (Drawing by Robert McGreevy of the City of Detroit on the bottom of Lake Huron)

DETROIT - (N.44.13.611 W.082.45.435)
200 Feet Deep.
The Detroit was a wooden paddel wheel steamer that was built in Marine City, MI in 1846. The Detroit was 157 feet long and suffered a collision with the brig Nucleus in heavy fog on May 25th, 1854. The Detroit was carrying a load of lumber, coal, and hay at the time of the loss. Today she is a beautiful example of a sidewheel steamer. Both paddle wheels are intact and the engine still stands between the two paddle wheels. (Drawing by Robert McGreevy of the Detroit on the bottom of Lake Huron)
DETROIT Photo Archive

DUMP BARGE - (N44.07.401 W.082.51.276)
77 Feet Deep.
The Dump Barge lies in 74ft of water just outside Grindstone City, MI. The barge is from the 1880's and still has the chain and winch mechanism for opening the large dump doors. With its shallow depth, diver can see many lake fish around the wreck.
DUMP BARGE Photo Archive

DUNDERBERG - (N43.55.641 W.082.33.391)
143 to 157 Feet Deep.
The Dunderberg is probably the most visited technical diving wreck in the Thumb Bottomland Preserve. The Dunderberg was lost in a collision on August 13th, 1868. The Dunderberg is in amazing condition and sitting upright on the bottom in 155 feet of water. The bow sprit is adorn with a figurehead and the holds still contain its cargo of grain. Along the starboard side, you can see the deep gash cut into the hull from the collision in 1868. (Drawing by Robert McGreevy of the Dunderberg on the bottom of Lake Huron)
DUNDERBERG Photo Archive

E.P. DORR - (N.44.08.790 W.082.43.960)
175 Feet Deep.
The E.P. Dorr was a wooded tugboat that was built in 1855 in Buffalo, NY. The Dorr was lost on June 28th,, 1856 when it collided with the Oliver Cromwell. At the time of its loss, it was carrying salvage parts from other ships including steam pumps, achors, windlass's, and tools. Many of these parts not scatter both the shipwreck and the area around the shipwreck. The Dorr sits upright on the lake bottom and is intact.
E.P. DORR Photo Archive

FRED LEE - (N.44.12.422 W.082.45.556)
200 Feet Deep.
The Fred Lee was a wooden tugboat built in Port Huron, MI in 1896. The Lee is 70 feet long with a 16 foot beam. She was headed to Sault Ste. Marie when she foundered in heavy seas and sank immediately on November 13th, 1936. All 5 crew were lost. Today she sits upright and intact on the bottom. The exhaust funnel used to be standing but has recently fallen on the wreck. Triple steam whistles and the ships wheel can be seen on the wreck.
FRED LEE Photo Archive

GLENORCHY - (N43.48.580 W.082.32.721)
100 to 120 Feet Deep.
The Glenorchy is a steel freighter that collided with another ship on October 29th, 1924. The Glenorchy is 365 feet long and sits "turtle" (upside down) in 120ft of water. For the properly trained and experienced diver there are penetration oportunities on this wreck.
GLENORCHY Photo Archive

GOLIATH - (N43.47.008 W.082.32.721)
104 Feet Deep.
The Goliath was a wooden propeller that was built in 1846 in St. Clair, MI. She was 131 feet long. The Goliath was bound for Port Huron on September 13th, 1848 when she and caught fire, exploded and sank. Its cargo at the time was 205 kegs of blasting powder and general merchandise. 18 lives were lost in the incident. As expected she lies broken up on the bottom. Her boilers and engine still stand with sections of the stern and bow stem still intact.   (Image by Robert McGreevy of the Goliath on the bottom)
GOLIATH Photo Archive

GOV SMITH - (N.44.09.333 W.082.42.001)
178 to 197 Feet Deep.
The Gov Smith collided with the stearmer Uranus on August 19th, 1905. The Smith was a 240 foot long wooden steamer and is mostly intact and upright in 175 feet of water. (Drawing by Robert McGreevy of the Gov Smith on the bottom of Lake Huron)
GOV SMITH Photo Archive

150 Feet Deep.
The Hunter Savidge was a 117 foot long 2 masted schooner built in Grand Haven, MI in 1879. On August 20th, 1899 she capsized and foundered in a squall on Lake Huron. All 5 crew and 10 passengers were lost in the incident. Today the Hunter Savidge lies broken up on the bottom of Lake Huron. (Drawing by Robert McGreevy of the Hunter Savidge on the bottom of Lake Huron)

IRON CHIEF - (N.44.05.632 W.082.42.588)
135 Feet Deep.
The Iron Cheif was a wooden 4 masted schooner-barge that was built in Detroit, MI in 1881. The Iron Cheif was 212.33 feet long. On October 3rd, 1904, bound for Fort William, Ont with a load of coal, the stern pipe broke in heavy seas. The ship filled with lake water and sank. The crew of the Iron Chief were rescued by the steamer Andrew Carnegie and were safely delivered to Alpena, MI. (Drawing by Robert McGreevy of the Iron Chief on the bottom of Lake Huron)
IRON CHIEF Photo Archive

JACOB BERTSCHY - (N.44.03.428 W.082.53.089)
10 Feet Deep.
The Jacob Bertschy was lost in a storn on September 3rd, 1879. The Bertschy was a steamer that was 139 feet long. Today the Bertschy sits in only 6 feet of water and is a great shore dive out of Grindstone City Harbor.

Mackinaw Design Boat - Grindstone City - (N.44.03.379 W.082.53.483)
10 Feet Deep.
Remains of a sailing vessel just outside the Grindstone City marina.  The vessel was a double ended design with a drop centerboard.  Divers can explore the design of the drop centerboard keel and the remains of the centerboard itself sitting on the port bow.

MYSTERY SCHOONER - (N43.57.851 W.082.35.018)
145 Feet Deep.
This schooner has yet to be identified (although many have tried). Sometimes this wreck has been called "Challenge" based on the difficulty in identifying the wreck.  The ship has small ornamentation underneath the bow sprit similar to a figurehead.

JOHN MCGEAN - (N.43.57.198 W.082.31.718)
198 Feet Deep.
The John McGean was lost in the Great Storm of 1913 that claimed many freighters on Lake Huron. The McGean was lost with all hands and is sitting in 195 feet of water. (Drawing of John McGean on the bottom of Lake Huron (Bow) (Stern))
JOHN MCGEAN Photo Archive

DANIEL J. MORRELL - (BOW N.44.18.320 W.082.45.161, STERN N.44.15.478 W.082.50.088)
Bow - 205 Feet Deep. Stern - 218 Feet Deep.
The Daniel J. Morrell was a large steel freighter that foundered in a storm on November 29th, 1966. All but one (Dennis Hale) were lost with the ship. The story of the Morrell was recounted by Dennis in his book "Sole Survivor". On the night of the disaster the ship broke in two during the storm with Dennis on the bow. (Drawing by Robert McGreevy of the breakup of the Daniel J Morrell) The stern motored past the bow after breakup and continued on. The bow and stern are now separated by 6 miles. The bow sits upright in about 200 feet of water. The stern sits upright in 218 feet of water. (Drawings by Robert McGreevy of the Daniel J Morrell on the bottom of Lake Huron (Bow) (Stern))

EMMA NIELSON - (N.44.10.878 W.082.42.611)
190 Feet Deep.
The Emma Nielson was built in 1883 at Manitowoc, WI by Hanson & Scove. She was a wooden 3 masted schooner that was 74.58 feet long. On June 26th, 1911 the Nielson was upbound in fog when all of a sudden the steamer Wyandotte appeared dead ahead. The Nielson slammed into the side of the Wyandotte and crushed its wooden bow and immediately started filling with water. The captain and crew were able to escape the sinking vessel in the yawl boat. The wreck lies upright in about 190 feet of water. (Drawing by Robert McGreevy of the Emma Nielson on the bottom of Lake Huron)
EMMA NIELSON Photo Archive

PHILADELPHIA - (N.44.04.120 W.082.42.992)
105 to 125 Feet Deep.
The Philadelphia was an iron package freighter that was built in Buffalo, NY in 1868. She was 236 feet long. The Philadelphia was involved in the collision with the Albany (also 6 miles away in the preserve) on November 7th, 1893. Today she sits upright in 124 feet of water about 7 miles northeast of Point Aux Barques, MI.

TROY - (N.44.08.655 W.083.01.939)
97 Feet Deep.
The Troy is an early steamer that foundered in a storm in 1859. The Troy was discovered by Chris Roth of Grindstone City, MI. The wreck is broken up in 94 feet of water. The large steeple engine, boiler and unique propeller are highlights of the dive. Also, the depth markers are still visible on the remaining hull section near the propeller. Lots of debris around the remains of the wreck allow for great exploration by divers. (Drawing by Robert McGreevy of the Troy on the bottom of Lake Huron)
TROY Photo Archive

For more artwork and more information about Robert McGreevy and this artwork please visit his website at www.McGreevy.com


Port Austin
967 Port Austin Road
Port Austin, MI  48467

1265 Mitchell Lake Road
Attica, MI  48412


Email: info@michigandiver.com 
Phone: (810) 214-0082