Wisconsin's Great Lakes Shipwrecks - Explore Shipwrecks - Lucerne
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The Lucerne was probably named after the Swiss lake and canton. The ship was built in 1873 by Parsons & Humble of Tonawanda, N.Y., for N.O. Winslow at a reported cost of $55,000.

The Lucerne was large for its day, at almost 195 feet. It had three masts, a sharp, elegant clipper bow with a scroll head, and a square stern.

The Lucerne was launched on April 23, 1873. Seven days later the ship was enrolled in Buffalo, N.Y., with James Dwyer as master . The schooner, designed to hold 52,000 bushels of corn, went into service chiefly as a grain hauler. Later in its career it hauled coal and iron ore.

The Lucerne changed owners several times. In 1886, a Cleveland group including James and John Corrigan purchased the Lucerne.

The Corrigan brothers were well-known lake skippers and prosperous, enterprising Cleveland industrialists. Capt. James Corrigan began sailing the Great Lakes at age 17 and later worked in oil refining. He developed several of his own refining processes and plants, which he subsequently sold to Standard Oil. He conducted oil exploration in Austria-Hungary with his brother in the early 1880s and at the time of the Lucerne purchase was obtaining controlling interests in Lake Superior iron mines and smelting furnaces. At the zenith of his career, James Corrigan owned some of the largest U.S. oil refineries outside of Standard Oil, had some of the biggest vessels on the Great Lakes and was one of the leading independent iron manufacturers in the United States.

But the Lucerne proved to be a fleeting acquisition. Before the end of its first season in the iron-ore trade, the vessel and its entire crew would be lost to a Lake Superior northeaster .


continued Set sail with the Lucerne on its final voyage


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