Skip to main content

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

Biden Minnesota visit stream screengrab - 11.30.31

What Biden said during his visit to Minnesota Tuesday

The president spoke at Dakota County Technical College.

Grand Marais

Cook County registers its first COVID-19 death of the pandemic

The sparsely populated, highly-vaccinated county has continuously had one of the lowest rates of COVID in the state.

Waits family screengrab CNN

Support for MN family after anti-maskers target child of school board chair

An online group opposing Kelsey Waits outed the child as transgender.

Pixabay - school - classroom

St. Paul schools add 2 days to winter break due to pandemic stress

The added days off are meant to acknowledge the stress the pandemic has caused.

Fardoussa Abdillahi

Charges: St. Cloud mother killed baby, placed him in dumpster

The 4-month-old baby was found by officers on Sunday morning.


1 dead in crash at Lake Street intersection in south Minneapolis

There have been 465 deaths on Minnesota roads this year, according to the state's traffic division.


St. Paul restaurateur's businesses burglarized a 6th time

The owner of The Gnome and Hope Breakfast Bar is asking politicians to help St. Paul business owners.

North Memorial Air Care

Teen suffers life-threatening injuries in head-on crash in southern MN

The 18-year-old was airlifted to a Mayo Clinic hospital in Rochester.

foo fighters grohl mr rossi wikimedia

Foo Fighters abruptly cancel Gophers stadium show hours after announcing it

The band is looking for a new venue because of a disagreement over COVID protocols.


LUSH in Minneapolis to reopen under new ownership in December

FOX 9's Jason Matheson and two popular performers are among the new owners of the revived bar and restaurant.

unsplash roller blade close

Lace up: Indoor skating returns to US Bank Stadium this winter

The venue announced 13 Winter Warm-Up dates for both skaters and runners.


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.