Fred Stonehouse talks about the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald

MARQUETTE — It is an event that many Michiganders know–the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald that occurred November 10, 1975 off the coast of Whitefish Point.

Marquette historian Fred Stonehouse gave a presentation on the sinking of the ship to the Marquette Beautification Committee Thursday.  He said the Edmund Fitzgerald is the iconic ship of the Great Lakes.

“It was a ship that sunk with all hands in a terrific storm, there were not witnesses to what happened to it, the speculation still remains rampant today as to why exactly it sunk, and when you add into that Gordon Lightfoot’s wonderful ballad [‘Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’], it’s just one that people have in their consciousness,” Stonehouse said.

Stonehouse said the most interesting thing he’s learned while studying the ship is the longevity its had throughout Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

“(The Edmund Fitzgerald) is unlike any of the other 7,000 shipwrecks of the Great Lakes,” he said. “There’s been many wrecks that have had far greater loss of life under worse circumstances, but yet it’s the Fitzgerald that remains so locked in our psyche.”

“If you go to any school (in the U.P.) and ask the students for the name of two shipwrecks, they will give you Titanic and they will give you the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

Stonehouse also discussed theories to how the Edmund Fitzgerald sank and what artifacts have been recovered.