History Thursday: Constitution Day, the Mayflower, and a Lost Car Ferry Discovered in Lake Michigan

Today we are going to make this a history/archives Thursday! There is so much to report on that we will combine three (3) items into this post.

First, today is Constitution Day, marking the anniversary (233rd!) of the signing of the United States’ Constitution in Philadelphia in 1787. Our National Archives has some special programs related to this, and you will find all kinds of valuable items on “display” at their website, including the original signed copy. In fact, you can even become a signer of the Constitution, virtually!

And in these days of calamity and chaos in our land, it is good to be acquainted with this historic document laying out the foundational principles of our republic. (We are not strictly speaking a democracy, but a constitutional republic.)

Image result for Pilgrims Mayflower Ship

The second item of history for today is a rather striking one – a special vessel that will mark the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Plymouth, England to America. It is called the “Mayflower Autonomous Ship” because, well, we will let World Mag tell you the rest:

The United States and United Kingdom jointly designed a solar- and wind-powered vessel guided by artificial intelligence to follow the same path across the Atlantic Ocean that pilgrims took from Plymouth, England, to Plymouth, Mass., in 1620. The Mayflower Autonomous Ship launched on Wednesday—400 years to the day after its namesake set sail carrying pilgrims in search of religious freedom.

How do the two ships compare? The new unmanned Mayflower is only 50 feet long. It weighs 5 tons and looks more like a futuristic spaceship than a sailing vessel. The original ship was 100 feet long and could carry up to 180 tons of cargo. Almost 150 passengers crammed into the hold for the journey.

An undated postcard showing the Pere Marquette 18 rail car ferry, which sank in 1910 and was discovered in the middle of Lake Michigan this summer by shipwreck hunters Jerry Eliason and Ken Merryman of Minnesota. (Courtesy | Alpena County Public Library Great Lakes Maritime Collection)

And finally, from the MLive news item linked here at the bottom here, we learn that a 1910 ferry that sank in Lake Michigan 110 years ago this month was recently discovered. Here’s the beginning of the story and additional pictures of the vessel – both in its original form and after discovery – are available there too.

LUDINGTON, MI — The wireless operator tapped the same frantic message for hours. “Carferry 18 sinking — help.” By the time help arrived, it was nearly too late.

One hundred and ten years ago this month, the Pere Marquette 18 took 29 souls with her as the iron vessel plunged beneath the dark surface of Lake Michigan.

The big railroad car ferry was surrounded by ships as she sank. However, despite many witnesses to her demise, the wreck evaded discovery until this summer, when a celebrated team of Great Lakes shipwreck hunters from Minnesota finally found her on the bottom of Lake Michigan.

Source: Lost car ferry discovered 110 years after sinking in Lake Michigan – mlive.com

Published in: on September 17, 2020 at 12:09 PM  Leave a Comment