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Edmund Fitzgerald Commemorated by Split Rock Lighthouse Beacon Lighting on Nov. 10

For immediate release

Release dated: 
October 15, 2014
Media contacts: 

Megan Lawson, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3141, megan.lawson@mnhs.org
Lee Radzak, Split Rock Lighthouse, 218-226-6372, lee.radzak@mnhs.org

Quick facts: 

Event: Edmund Fitzgerald Commemorative Beacon Lighting
Date: Nov. 10, 2014
Time: Noon to 6 p.m.
Place: Split Rock Lighthouse
Address: 3713 Split Rock Lighthouse Rd., Two Harbors MN 55616
Cost: $7; free for MNHS members.
Phone: 218-226-6372
Email: splitrock@mnhs.org
Website: http://www.mnhs.org/splitrock

Edmund Fitzgerald Commemorated by Split Rock Lighthouse Beacon Lighting on Nov. 10

On a stormy Nov. 10, 1975, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank near Whitefish Bay at the eastern end of Lake Superior, taking with it the entire crew of 29 men. Every year, Split Rock Lighthouse honors the lives lost in this tragic maritime disaster, and all the sailors lost on Great Lakes shipwrecks, with a commemoration ceremony.

On Thursday, Nov. 10, from noon to 6 p.m., Beaconthe fog signal building and lighthouse will be open with costumed guides greeting visitors and providing lighthouse and shipwreck history. A 30-minute film, the "Edmund Fitzgerald Investigation" will show continuously in the visitor center theatre and a second, hour-long film about Great Lakes shipwrecks, will play in the exhibit gallery.

At 4:30 p.m. the lighthouse will temporarily close to allow for a ceremony on the lighthouse steps. The ceremony will include the Naval Hymn, the reading of the names of the men lost on the Fitzgerald and the toll of a ship's bell.

Following the ceremony, the lighthouse beacon will be lit and guests will be able to climb the stairs to see the 3rd order Fresnel lens in operation. This once a year event is the only opportunity to be in the lighthouse while the beacon is on.

The special reduced admission is $7 or free for MNHS members. Visitors are asked to bring flashlights and to dress warmly. The visitor center and museum store will be open from noon to 6 p.m.

The Edmund Fitzgerald
When launched on June 8, 1958, the lake freighter Edmund Fitzgerald was the largest boat on the Great Lakes, and remains the largest boat to have sunk there. The Fitzgerald carried taconite from mines near Duluth, Minnesota, to iron works in Detroit, Toledo and other ports. Carrying a full cargo of taconite ore pellets, the Fitzgerald embarked on her final voyage from Superior, Wisconsin to a steel mill near Detroit, Michigan. The ship was caught in the midst of a massive winter storm, with near hurricane-force winds and waves up to 35 feet high. Shortly after 7:10 p.m. the Fitzgerald suddenly sank in Canadian waters approximately 17 miles from the entrance to Whitefish Bay, at a depth of 530 feet. Although the Fitzgerald had reported being in difficulty earlier, no distress signals were sent before she sank. Her crew of 29 perished and no bodies were recovered.

About Split Rock Light House

The Minnesota Historical Society site is located in Split Rock Lighthouse State Park on U.S. Hwy. 61, 20 miles northeast of Two Harbors. Restored to its 1920s appearance, the lighthouse offers a glimpse of life in this remote and spectacular setting. Tour the lighthouse, fog-signal building and the restored keeper’s dwelling. The visitor center features an award-winning film, exhibits and a museum store. For more information, call 218-226-6372.

The Society’s calendar of events is posted online at www.mnhs.org/calendar. The website also has information about all of the Society’s programs, museums and historic sites.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, the Society preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.