Nearly a century and a half ago, the schooner Trinidad descended into the depths of Lake Michigan off the coast of Algoma, Wisconsin.
In July, two maritime historians named Brendan Baillod and Bob Jaeck located the 140-foot-long schooner in nearly 300 feet of water and found it to be in surprisingly good condition for a ship that had been underwater for 142 years.
They discovered that the deckhouse was still intact and were stunned to see that the cabinets still had dishes stacked inside them, along with the crew’s belongings.
The pair had been searching for the lost ship for two years. They believed that finding the Trinidad was within their capabilities since the crew had provided such a detailed description of where the boat had sunk.
In addition, the boat had gone down slowly into deep water, which meant that it was likely it remained intact.
The vessel was built in 1867 by William Keefe. It was larger and made with sturdier reinforcements than most boats because it needed to endure sailing through the Welland Canal, a passage connecting Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
During its time, the Trinidad carried iron and coal from Oswego, New York, to Milwaukee and Chicago and made the journey back with a supply of wheat from Wisconsin, which would then be shipped to cities on the East Coast.
The grain trade was thriving, and with the help of the trusty Trinidad, the boat’s owners made a fortune. However, the owners failed to maintain the ship, even though they could definitely afford to. As a result, it suffered from many leaks until it finally went under and settled at the bottom of the lake.
In 1881, the Trinidad met its end. The captain and crew were forced to leave behind their personal possessions and escape immediately in a small boat. They rowed for almost eight hours before they reached shore.