Wisconsin's Great Lakes Shipwrecks - Explore Shipwrecks - Sevona
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When Capt. McDonald's body was found, all of his belongings were present, except for $1,500 of company money that had been in his pockets. It was later reported that several "undesirables" were frequenting Bayfield bars and stores and spending battered, watersoaked bills. Three men were brought to trial, but the prosecuting attorney failed to appear, and the charges were dismissed.

the deck of the Sevona after the wreck the stern
The deck (left) and stern of the wrecked Sevona

 

The Sevona, valued at $220,000, was declared a total loss. The same storm claimed three other ships, including the Schooner-Barge Pretoria , which foundered near Outer Island. People began demanding better navigational aids, life-saving stations, and telephones throughout the Apostle Islands. Some claimed the ship broke directly at the junction of its new midships section and said lengthening the vessel had been dangerous. (Recent site investigations have laid this claim to rest. The joints between the old and new hull sections remain attached to this day.)

Only days after the disaster, the tug Skater took tourists out to the site. Drinking coffee and eating sandwiches, they collected souvenirs of the disaster. In October 1905, the Reid Wrecking Company of Sarnia, Ontario, purchased the wreck for $5,000 with the intent of refloating it. However, that winter ice ground down the hull , so in 1906 Reid changed plans and only removed light machinery. In June 1908, Reid recovered the ship's engine, three boilers -- valued at $10,000 a piece -- and hundreds of tons of hull plating worth $9 per ton. In July 1909, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, concerned about the wreck as a navigation hazard, had the vessel blown up with 500 pounds of dynamite. This produced a water depth of 14 feet over the site and made navigation safe for smaller vessels.

Despite the salvaging and blasting, enough steel remained for J.B. Wanless of Duluth, Minnesota, to salvage more of the Sevona during the 1917 scrap drive for World War I. He removed 180 tons by that August and intended to have another 800 out before winter.

 

 

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