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Possible 'Lake Serpent' discovery would be oldest shipwreck in Lake Erie

May 1, 2018

The National Museum of the Great Lakes is hoping there’s a serpent at the bottom of Lake Erie.

The serpent in question isn’t a new type of invasive species. It’s the Lake Serpent, a shipping schooner lost in 1829.

In 2015, the National Museum of the Great Lakes and the Cleveland Underwater Explorers discovered what may be the Lake Serpent schooner.
Credit Tom Kowalczk, Cleveland Underwater Explorers

The museum recently announced the discovery of a shipwreck off Kelleys Island in the western end of Lake Erie. The staff first learned about the find in 2015 and has since narrowed down the possibilities to three ships. The museum is planning a 10-day excavation this summer to determine if it is, in fact, the Lake Serpent. If it is, it would be the oldest shipwreck in Lake Erie. 

The museum has raised about $6,000 of the estimated  $13,000 cost of the excavation.

Chris Gillcrist is the executive director of the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo.

He told Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition host Doug Tribou that shipwrecks are transportation disasters, but unlike plane or train crashes, “shipwrecks are more likely than not found in their original locale, and are like time capsules waiting to be discovered.”

(Click the play button above to hear their conversation.)