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Lake Superior Shipwrecks
George Spencer
Present Description

The wreckage of the George Spencer lies just off the beach approximately 1 mile south of Sugar Loaf Cove. The quarter mile long stretch of beach is crescent shaped and blends from sand on the south to large beach cobbles on the north. The remains of the Spencer include a 141-foot section of the base of its hull from the turn of the bilge down. The longitudinal axis of the hull lies perpendicular to the beach. What is believed to be the bow end of the wreckage lies 40 feet from shore in 3 feet of water, the opposite end lying in 20 feet.

wreck site image 1 wreck site image 2

Photo 1: Futtock ends of Spencer, 1993; Ken Merryman photo, Fridley, MN
Photo 2: Spencer wreck site - bilge keelsons, futtocks and keelson, 1993; Ken Merryman photo, Fridley, MN

The 141-foot section is composed of the keelson fastened atop triple frame timbers. The hull is further strengthened by 5 evenly spaced stringers, the turn of the bilge still retaining several runs of ceiling. A 36-foot long and 12-foot wide section of hull side lies adjacent and partially under what would be the starboard or north side of the central portion of the wreckage. The keelson of the large submerged 141-foot piece is constructed of 3 timbers wide and 1 timber high. The central timber or main keelson is 1-foot 3 inches sided, the two siter keelsons 1-foot 1 inch sided. All three timbers are 1-foot 4 inches moulded. The stringers are each 13 inches moulded and 9 inches sided. The frames are composed of three timbers. The inshore side timber is 6 inches sided, the central timber is 5 inches sided, the offshore timber of each frame being 4.5 inch sided. The frames are 1-foot 4 inch moulded adjacent the keelson and are 1-foot 1 inch moulded at the turn of the bilge.

wreck site image 1 wreck site image 2

Photo 1: Spencer wreck site - keelson, 1993; Ken Merryman photo, Fridley, MN
Photo 2: Spencer wreck site - keelson, bilge keelsons and futtocks, 1993; Ken Merryman photo, Fridley, MN

The 36-foot long section of hull side adjacent and under the hull base has 14 double timbered frames. The frames are covered with 4 inch thick by 9 inches wide hull planking. Another small section of similar hull, mapped in May, 1992, washed up on the shoreline north of the submerged wreckage. It consisted of 9 remaining hull planks fastened to 8 double frames. The frames measured 8 inches moulded and 5.5 NPS inches sided. Some ceiling, measuring 10 inches by 2 inches was still attached. The hull planks were fastened by two iron spikes at each frame intersection. The small piece of hull was not apparent during a shoreline survey in June, 1993. It was apparently washed into deeper water during a major storm in November, 1992. It is assumed to be in the water just offshore, still within the previously defined site boundaries.


|--George Spencer-- |--Historic Description--|
|--Construction and Career-- |--Description of the Wreck Event--|
|--Post-Depositional Impacts-- |--Present Description-- |--Significance-- |--Photographs--|
|--Minnesota Lake Superior Shipwrecks-- |
|--Minnesota Historical Society Homepage--|