SS Monarch

SS Monarch was a passenger-package freighter built in 1890 that operated on the Great Lakes. She was sunk off the shore of Isle Royale in Lake Superior in 1906 and the remains of her wreck and cargo are still on the lake bottom. The wreck was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.[2]

The Monarch underway
Name: Monarch
Operator: Northern Navigation Company, Ltd
Builder: John Dyble
Launched: June 27, 1890
Fate: Wrecked 6 December 1906
General characteristics
Type: Passenger-package freighter
Length: 259 feet
Beam: 35 feet
Depth: 15 feet
Installed power: 900HP
Propulsion: triple expansion steam engine
Speed: 14 knots
Notes: Official Number 96843
Bow section of the Monarch
LocationPalisade area, north side of Blake Point, Isle Royale National Park, Michigan[1]
Coordinates48°11′20″N 88°26′3″W
Area45.9 acres (18.6 ha)
ArchitectJohn Dyble
Architectural stylePassenger-package freighter
MPSShipwrecks of Isle Royale National Park TR
NRHP reference #84001779[2]
Added to NRHPJune 14, 1984


Monarch (Official Number 96843) was a wooden passenger-cargo ship built in 1890 in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, by John Dyble[3] for the Northwest Transportation Company.[4][5] She was launched on June 27, 1890, the last ship built in Sarnia until World War II.[3] The ship was 259 feet (78.9 meters) long, 35 feet (10.7 meters) in beam, and 15 feet (4.6 meters) in depth.[4] She had a 900-hp (671-Kw) triple-expansion steam engine with two Scotch boilers, allowing her to attain 14 mph.[4] The ship's hull was heavily reinforced with iron, and she was fitted with 65 cabins.[3][4]

Monarch was used to transport both passengers and packages on the Great Lakes throughout her career,[6] primarily running between Sarnia, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Duluth, Minnesota.[3] In 1899, Northwest Transportation merged with another company to form the Northern Navigation Company, Ltd.[3]

Final voyage

On December 6, 1906, the Monarch finished loading a cargo of wheat, oats, salmon, and general merchandise and departed Thunder Bay for Sarnia in a blinding snowstorm.[3][4] For some reason, the ship headed off her planned course, and that night she ran at full speed into the palisade area on the north side of Blake Point on Isle Royale.[4][5] The ship's engineer kept the engine engaged to maintain the ship's position on the shore, and John D. McCallum, brother of first mate Burt McCallum, carried a line to shore through the rough seas.[4] The crew and passengers used the line to escape the wreck, and only one person perished.[4] The survivors camped on Isle Royale for four days, salvaging food from the wreck and keeping signal fires alight, before they were rescued on December 10, 1906.[3][4]

During the night of 11–12 December 1906, the wreck broke into two pieces, leaving only the bow section visible.[7] Salvage operations on Monarch were carried out over the next two years,[3] and the engine and associated machinery was salvaged in 1908.[3]

The wreck today

The wooden wreck has disintegrated, although a number of pieces of wreckage can be seen.[4] Large pieces of wooden wreckage are scattered on the bottom of Lake Superior at depths of 10 to 80 feet (3 to 24.4 meters),[5] and there is a trove of Monarch′s cargo still lying on the bottom near the wreck.[4] Approximately 85 dives were made on the wreck in 2009 out of 1,062 dives made to wrecks in the Isle Royale National Park.[8]


  1. The wreck is listed as "address restricted", but Isle Royale National Park permits public dives and publishes the location of the wreck. Coordinate location is per "The Wrecks of Isle Royale". Black Dog Diving. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  2. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  3. Daniel Lenihan; Toni Carrell; Thom Holden; C. Patrick Labadie; Larry Murphy; Ken Vrana (1987), Daniel Lenihan (ed.), Submerged Cultural Resources Study: Isle Royale National Park (PDF), Southwest Cultural Resources Center, pp. 104–117, 259–275
  4. "Monarch Shipwreck". Superior Shipwrecks. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  5. "Scuba Diving". Isle Royale National Park, National Park Service. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  6. Toni Carrell (September 1983), NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES INVENTORY - NOMINATION FORM: Shipwrecks of Isle Royale National Park Thematic Group
  7. "Monarch Breaks up and will be Abandoned". Windsor Evening Record. 12 December 1906. p. 1. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  8. Pete Sweger (2010), "A Diver's Experience" (PDF), The Greenstone 2010, p. 9

Further reading

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.