The Edmund Fitzgerald
In 1975, a 729-foot freighter, the Edmund Fitzgerald, left Superior, Wis., headed for Detroit with 26,000 tons of taconite. Enroute, the ship encountered one of the November gales for which Lake Superior is notorious.
The Nov. 10 storm that doomed the Edmund Fitzgerald was matched perhaps by the crew's overconfidence in technology and underestimation of the lake's fury. Although not far from calmer waters when the storm hit, Capt. Ernest McSorley headed northeast across Lake Superior, seeking what he thought would be the shelter of the Canadian shore and eventually Whitefish Bay.
The Arthur M. Anderson, sailing 10 miles behind the Fitzgerald, soon received reports that the ship was listing, and at 7:10 p.m. heard Capt. McSorely's final message: "We're holding our own." The Anderson lost the Fitzgerald's image on its radar screens at 7:25 p.m.
Additional information about the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald can be found at http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/wxwise/fitz.html
Annual Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Beacon Lighting
Every year on November 10, the navigational beacon, decommissioned in 1969, is lit in memory of the 29 men lost aboard the Edmund Fitzgerald and all the other vessels lost on the Great Lakes.
This event offers the only time during the year that visitors can see the interior of the light tower when the beacon is lit. It is a great time both to learn about the operation of the light and to take advantage of a rare photo opportunity.