30 Years Ago Today: Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The freighter, traveling from Duluth, Minnesota, to the Detroit docks of Zug Island, never made it to its final destination; it went down in the cold waters of Lake Superior. None of the 29 people aboard survived.

Although it remains unclear as to what actually caused the ship to sink, the catalyst of the tragedy was a nasty storm in the freighter’s path that allegedly pounded the ship with 90 mile-an-hour winds and 30-foot waves.

The Edmund Fitzgerald is just one victim among 6,000 ships to disappear in the Great Lakes, but the success of Gordon Lightfoot’s 1976 song, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, garnered much attention for the ship and the events that led to its demise. The song was on the music charts for 21 weeks.

The Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle is holding a special tribute for the Edmund Fitzgerald this afternoon at 4:30, and other events surrounding the anniversary are scheduled for tomorrow and Saturday.

In addition, Mariners’ Church in Detroit will hold a memorial service at 11 am on Sunday morning. As in years past, the church bells will be rung 29 times to honor and remember the 29 members of the ship’s crew who were lost that fateful day.

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