The steamer Crescent City was driven into rocks on the shore of Lake Superior northeast of Duluth 115 years ago today — Nov. 28, 1905. It was one of numerous wrecks during a storm that was most famous for sinking the Mataafa near the Duluth Ship Canal. Nine of 24 Mataafa crew members perished; everyone on Crescent City survived.
Various postcards of the Crescent City wreck feature the same caption on the front:
Wreck of the Steamer “Crescent City”: Driven ashore two miles east of Lester Park, Duluth, Minnesota. During the great storm of Nov. 28, 1905. Her crew escaped to shore by using a ladder as a bridge.
Winds reportedly reached 70 m.p.h. during the storm. The Buffalo Evening News reported the gale swung Crescent City’s stern around “so that the ship was broadside to shore and the stern was so close that Capt. Frank Rice and his crew threw a ladder to the shore and walked off in safety, abandoning the ship to her fate.”
The freighter had been heading to Two Harbors and was blown off-course. It hit rocks near the Lakewood Pumping Station in Lakewood Township, just northeast of Duluth. The vessel was finally released from the shore on June 7, 1906, and arrived for dry docking at Lorain, Ohio, on June 20. It was later salvaged and repaired.
Crescent City was owned by the Pittsburg Steamship Company, built in Chicago in 1897, and its home port was Duluth.
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