Lac La Belle (1864)
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Service History


The wooden single masted propeller Lac La Belle was built in 1864 at Cleveland, Ohio by Ira Lafringer for Hanna & Garrettson. The vessel was powered by a twin cylinder high pressure condensing steam engine built by the Cuyahoga Steam Furnace Company in Cleveland, Ohio. She was one of the first propellers on the Great Lakes to have twin stacks.The official registry number was 15803. The Lac La Belle was built as a passenger steamer but converted to a bulk freighter in 1869.

June 1864: Grounded at Eagle River on Lake Superior. Later retrieved.

July 1865: Remeasured at Cleveland; 217.5' X 37.48' X 19.58'; 1187.19 gross tons.

November 1866: Collided with the sidewheel steamer Milwaukee at the St. Clair Flats. Raised and repaired.

Last Document Of Enrollment Surrendered: Milwaukee: 12/31/1872: "Total Loss".
Final Voyage


October 14,1872: The steamer Lac La Belle, bound from Milwaukee to Grand Haven with 53 persons of crew and passengers, laden with grain, foundered 20 miles off Racine. The steamer had left Milwaukee at nine o'clock in the evening and began leaking when approximately twenty-five miles off Racine. About midnight after considerable leaking, during a gale out of the north, she shipped a heavy sea which extinguished the fires in the boilers: the Lac La Belle was left to the mercy of the waves. By early morning, the crew and passengers abandoned the Lac La Belle in lifeboats and headed to shore, landing south of Racine. However, one lifeboat had capsized resulting in eight lives being lost.
Today


It is felt that the Lac La Belle foundered about twenty miles off Racine in deep water. It has been reported that a vessel has been scanned in deep water in the area.
 
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