Shipwreck lecture tonight at GL Maritime Heritage Center

Courtesy Photo An anchor rests still attached on the bow of the sunken schooner barge Ironton, lost in a collision in 1894. Today, the vessel sits upright and intact, all three masts still standing. This photo was provided by NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Undersea Vehicles Program UNCW, Ocean Exploration Trust.

ALPENA ­– Tonight kicks off the 2024 Sanctuary Lecture Series with Discoveries in Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary at 7 p.m.

Presented by maritime archaeologist Stephanie Gandulla, the free lecture will be held at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, 500 W. Fletcher St., Alpena.

Since its designation as the first freshwater national marine sanctuary in 2000, NOAA’s Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary has worked to preserve a historically significant collection of shipwrecks through research and education, encouraging access to the rich maritime history of the Great Lakes. Collaborating with partners, this work has led to the discovery of shipwreck sites, such as the schooner barge Ironton, sunk in a collision in 1894.

In late spring 2019, the more than 120-year-old shipwreck was discovered intact on the bottom of Lake Huron in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, marking the 100th found shipwreck of an estimated 200 in the sanctuary.

Join Gandulla as she shares the Ironton’s tragic story of loss, its exciting story of discovery, and learn more about the sanctuary’s ongoing exploration of Lake Huron.

“Maritime archaeologist Stephanie Gandulla will be presenting the newest finding in our sanctuary, which was the Ironton,” said TBNMS Resource Protection Specialist Cassandra Sadler. “She’ll delve into the history of the ship, the history of its sinking in 1894, when it sank in a collision. Then, she will go into the ship’s discovery.”

Sadler added that more research is always on the horizon in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and Gandulla will reveal some of the upcoming plans and projects as well.

“Then she will go into some of the new and exciting work that will be happening in the sanctuary this summer,” Sadler said. “We’re still in the planning phases with our research, but it’s going to be a busy summer.”

For more information, visit thunderbay.noaa.gov, thunderbayfriends.org, or call 989-884-6200.


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