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Lake Superior Shipwrecks
U.S.S. Essex


Photo of the Essex

Historic Name: U.S.S. Essex

Vessel Type: Steam naval sloop

Designer: Donald McKay, Kitter Naval Yard, East Boston, Massachusetts


Port bow view, grounded on shoal in Maumee River at Toledo, Ohio, Aug. 22, 1904; C. Patrick Labadie Collection, Duluth, MN

(Essex) (space)
The U.S.S. Essex was an armed naval sloop built between 1874 and 1876 at East Boston, Mass., by Donald McKay who was world famous for his clipper ships. McKay was one of the most important and famous shipbuilders in this nation's history. The wreck is historically significant as the last remaining known example of a Donald McKay vessel. The Essex served the U.S. Navy from 1876 to 1903. In 1904 it was employed for training duties with the Toledo Naval Militia until 1927 when it was transferred to the Naval Reserve of the State of Minnesota. The ship was finally sold for scrap in Nov., 1930, and taken to the beach outside Duluth harbor where the ship was burned to the waterline on Oct. 14, 1931. The remains of the U.S.S. Essex were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

Essex wreck site


orange dotHistoric Description
orange dotConstruction and Career
orange dotDescription of the Loss-Wreck Event
orange dotPost-Depositional Impacts
orange dotPresent Description
orange dotStatement of Significance Summary
orange dotHistoric and Underwater Photographs

Portion of ship's bottom on beach, showing centerline keelson and engine-bed; Elmer Engman, Proctor, MN


Adapted from the National Register of Historic Places nomination written by: Steven R. James, Jr., Panamerican Consultants, Inc.


|--Hesper-- |--Onoko-- |--Madeira-- |--Thomas Wilson-- |--U.S.S. Essex--|
|--Amboy-- |--George Spencer-- |--Niagara-- |--Samuel P. Ely--|
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