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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

In Search of Delta County's Queen City Shipwreck-Some Functional Characteristics

A few divers and I have formed an ad hoc team of people who are seeking to search out and find Queen City shipwreck in Delta County. The team consists of two deep/seasoned divers, a archaeologist, and me. It is kind of cool to be invited to ship wreck. I suppose I have some diving experience over the last couple years, boating, research and other organizing skills (ummm gift for gab) to go and look for this boat. Its a great project and it will be fun to really go a National Geographic type hunt. 

Delta County Michigan has a lot of shipwrecks to be found in Delta County. Visit Escanaba has some resources on local shipwrecks. A little more information at the Delta County Historical Museum. The amount of wrecks in Delta County is substantial but the number eludes me. I think it was around 40-50 but many are undiscovered so there is room to explore.

Queen City is a ship that hasn't been found despite being suspect in semi-shallow water. We have its general location and a navigation map where other researchers have previously explored. We are going to continue off of that map and we are going to canvas the likely areas looking for structural changes on the bottom of the water. If we can find something of interest we will stop and dive off to see what it is. There will be other strategies I'm sure but this one gets us out there in a few days. 

Its not my first shipwreck dive but it is my fist shipwreck hunt. The principles of research will be relatively the same as other studies but they will be adapted to shipwreck study. Where we need specific knowledge we can talk with the archaeologist and/or divers as the case is needed. Furthermore, it is possible to hedge volunteer researchers/historians. 

The one beautiful thing about the U.P. of Michigan is there are lots of historical society and people who love to study this stuff. When I review the literature about the ships we can find the authors. Most of those are historians themselves and can be contacted. I guess that is why we should include references and contacts with our work. I have used that option a lot over the years. 

Much of the basic work has been completed by the time I got asked. There is an amateur historian-diver connected to the group and they have reviewed the documents and have a pretty good idea (with the map) to start looking. However, I think it would be beneficial to contact the ports and historical societies in the ports where it did the most commerce to see what information they have. 

My suspicion (and I'm not an expert in nautical history) is that there may be more paper logs out there that talk about the ship, give hints to its cargo, and how much commerce it contributed to local commerce. I also think no one went back to contact the owning company and/or its chain of ownership just to see if they have any knowledge of the ship. They might love to be a little involved! Just for the marketing purposes alone! Its an idea I might bring up when we meet again. 👀

At present it looks like we have a knowledgeable team, a methodology, including research approach and a wide network of specialized divers (including ice and deep) that can be called upon to help us for free if we need it. I have dived with many of them and I can say the are really nice people and truly enjoy helping out on dives and an excuse to do it with people they like. Each of us has some experience with the others and we have our own individual skills.

 We are at present just paying for it ourselves and are taking a semi-serious recreational approach to it and we think it would be helpful to the understanding of local history. Perhaps it can help bring awareness of Delta County tourism offerings as well the economic aspects of the area. With luck we can find some artifacts and can film them and see what the next steps are with local historical societies and state/local permits. While we plan on giving any findings to the local museums and on having lots of fun trying. Maybe there are grants for these things to augment some of the costs? I might have to look and see if there is anyone interested in sponsoring the costs (which we are willing to flip ourselves for tanks and gas and stuff).



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