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The Atlanta sunk in 1891. Now, it’s been rediscovered off the coast of Michigan.

A 172-foot barge, the Atlanta, was recently found 35 miles off the coast of Michigan under 650 feet of water in Lake Superior.

The discovery was announced by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS) after over 2,500 miles of Lake Superior were mapped last year using sonar. As the coldest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior’s temperature of the lake helped the Atlanta remain preserved, according to the GLSHS Executive Director Bruce Lynn.

“It is rare that we find a shipwreck that so clearly announces what it is and the name-board of the Atlanta really stands out,” Lynn said in a press release. “It is truly ornate, and still beautiful after 130 years on the bottom of Lake Superior.”

The Shipwreck "Atlanta"

The Society's Corey Adkins says the schooner is "beautifully preserved." He says they were able to get photographs of the shipwreck using a Remote Operated Vehicle - or ROV.

"It's deeper than where the [Edmund] Fitzgerald sunk," Adkins said. "It's undivable. The only way we could see this is with our ROV."

The ship sank in 1891 after getting caught in a storm that caused the towline and masts to break. The Atlanta’s crew initially escaped in a lifeboat, but only two crewmembers made it to the Crisp Point Life-Saving Station on shore after the small boat overturned.

Emma Ruberg joined Michigan Radio in January as the Digital News Intern. She recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a double major in political science and communications and previously worked as a Senior News Editor for The Michigan Daily covering government and public safety.
Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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