Wreck of the Edmund Fizgerald recalled as gales of November come early – again


One of the most famous shipwrecks in Great Lakes history is being remembered Monday.

The Duluth News Tribune reports it was 39 years ago that the Edmund Fitzgerald sunk as a massive snowstorm ("the gales of November") struck Lake Superior. All of the freighter’s 29 crew members, including several with families in the Duluth-Superior area, were lost in the wreck.

Split Rock Lighthouse will host its annual beacon lighting and memorial service for the victims of the Fitzgerald and all Great Lakes wrecks. On Monday afternoon, staff will ring a bell 29 times, in honor of each man who lost his life on the Fitzgerald, and then toll the bell a 30th time for all lost mariners. After that, the lighthouse’s beacon will be lit. It’s the only time of the year that visitors can climb to the top of the tower while the beacon is lit and revolving.

The Sault Ste. Marie Evening News notes that another solemn bell-ringing memorial service will be held at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. It will host the annual Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Service Monday evening. The ship’s bell was recovered in 1995 and is on display as a memorial at the museum. Each year the bell is uncovered and rung 29 times during a “Call to the Last Watch Ceremony.” It, too, rings the bell an additional time for all mariners lost on the Great Lakes.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer calls the shipwreck's legend "second only to the Titanic." It famously was memorialized by Gordon Lightfoot's 1976 song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

When the Edmund Fitzgerald was christened in 1958, it was the largest freighter on the Great Lakes. The ore carrier left Superior Nov. 9, 1975 ; it got caught in a massive storm on Lake Superior. The Detroit Free Press recalled that on its ill-fated final trip, it was taking more than 26 tons of taconite pellets to Detroit. Its last radio contact was with another freighter on the evening of Nov. 10; soon after the Fitzgerald disappeared from radar near the entrance to Whitefish Bay at the eastern end of the lake.

Next Up


Here's how much snow fell in Minnesota on Sunday

Some localized areas saw more than expected.

Lindsay Guentzel

For The Week: What's harder than making a meal plan? Sticking to it!

Lindsay Guentzel says you shouldn't give up on your meal planning routines.

Screen Shot 2019-12-17 at 11.15.34 AM

Two people fatally shot by police in Wadena County, two officers injured

Another man was shot in the altercation, which police claim started when one of the suspects opened fire on officers.

snow, plow

Winter storm warnings issued as snow system shifts in Minnesota

The worst of the snow will now hit further north, affecting areas including St. Cloud and the I-94 corridor.

Matt Dumba

Matt Dumba beats the clock to give Wild sixth straight win

Dumba scored as overtime came to a close for another Wild victory.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Bradley Beal terrorizes Timberwolves in loss to Wizards

Beal and the Wizards handed the Wolves their seventh straight defeat.

Marcus Carr / Gopher basketball

Gophers tourney hopes take another blow with loss to Nebraska

Marcus Carr scored a career-high 41 points, but Minnesota is still winless on the road.

St. Paul police

St. Paul police arrest teenage boy in carjacking crackdown

This comes amid a dramatic spike in Twin Cities carjackings.


Snow latest: Twin Cities set for up to 4 inches

A narrow system will travel across Minnesota overnight.


The Edmund Fitzgerald remembered 37 years after wreck

Saturday marks 37 years since the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975. A crew of 29 men died in the shipwreck. The freighter carrying taconite traveling from Superior to Detroit made its last contact with a nearby ship, the Arthur M. Anderson, a little after 7 p.m. that fateful day. Minutes later, the ship disappeared from radar screens.