Wisconsin's Great Lakes Shipwrecks - Explore Shipwrecks - Lucerne
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At the time of its sinking, the Lucerne was considered one of the staunchest vessels on the Great Lakes. The ship's owners outfitted it with new sails and fittings for heavy-duty service on Lake Superior. The Lucerne was placed under the command of Capt. George Lloyd of Cleveland.

On Oct. 25, 1886, the Lucerne and the schooner Niagara, laden with coal, cleared Ashtabula, Ohio, and headed for Washburn, Wis., in tow of the steamer Raleigh. The Lucerne unloaded its cargo at Washburn, and on Nov. 12, the Raleigh towed the Lucerne to Ashland, Wis. There, the Lucerne took on a load of 1,256 tons of iron ore consigned to Luttle, Ogleby & Co. of Cleveland. The cargo was somewhat lighter than the usual summer load of 1,380 tons, probably in anticipation of Lake Superior's rough autumn weather.

The barometer was high and steady on the evening of Nov. 15, 1886, and the Lucerne left Ashland in fair weather. It was to join its tow, the Raleigh, in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. According to the Dec. 9, 1886, issue of the Marine Record, Capt. Lloyd had such pride in the big schooner and confidence in his crew that he declared "he would rather go out with her under canvas than under the tow of any steamer."

The trip to Cleveland was to be the Lucerne's last run of the season. It turned out to be her last voyage as well. There were no signs of the impending snowstorm, which would sweep Lake Superior for the next two days. Capt. Lloyd unsuspectingly launched the Lucerne into a vicious northeaster .


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