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Books


Book-Lost&FoundLost & Found: Legendary Lake Michigan Shipwrecks
V. O. van Heest
Titanic sank in 1912 and the stories of amazing survival and tragic loss made the ocean liner famous. Titanic’s discovery in 1985—and the images captured of the grand staircase, the pilothouse, and the dripping rusticles—made Titanic legendary.
Likewise, the many shipwrecks presented in Lost and Found became even more famous after their discoveries than at the time of their losses, gaining notoriety as historic attractions, archaeological sites, and in some cases, over bold salvage attempts or precedent- setting legal battles. Through riveting narrative, the award-winning author and explorer takes the readers back in time to experience the careers and tragic sinkings of these ships, then beneath the lake to participate in the triumphant discovery and exciting exploration of their remains and the circumstances that led to their status as legendary shipwrecks.
The vessels in this comprehensive publication span the age of sail, steam, and diesel on the Great Lakes from the earliest schooners to the side-wheel steamers, propellers, carferries, self-unloaders, and yachts. They include ships lost in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan waters that were discovered by some of the lake’s most prolific wreck hunters, including the author’s own organization—Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates—in partnerships with legendary wreck hunters David Trotter, Ralph Wilbanks, and nationally acclaimed author Clive Cussler. Presented chronologically based on the date discovered, these shipwrecks provide an overview of evolving diver attitudes and conduct, as well as the laws affecting exploration and documentation.
Most assuredly, the compelling sagas of these important vessels did not end when the waves of Lake Michigan washed over them.


Price: $19.95 (includes S&H – US Only)

ISBN: 978-0-9801750-5-9
304 pages


Book-LostOnTheLadyElginLost on the Lady Elgin
Valerie van Heest
Lightning tore through the slate-black sky above lower Lake Michigan during the early hours of Saturday, September 8, 1860, illuminating the palatial sidewheel steamer Lady Elgin as she lumbered north from Chicago through raging seas and gale winds. The vessel’s perilous journey would end abruptly and tragically when the schooner Augusta collided with the steamer, piercing a gaping and fatal wound in the steamer’s port side.  Within minutes, the Lady Elgin broke up and foundered, forcing her terrified passengers and crew into the maelstrom. Some drowned quickly; others clung to small bits of wreckage throughout the horrific early morning.  Most lost their lives in the churning surf along shore.  Over three hundred people, mainly Irish-Americans from Milwaukee’s Third Ward, perished in the disaster—the worst maritime tragedy ever on the open waters of the Great Lakes. Newspaper headlines announced the “alarming calamity,” survivors recounted their terrifying ordeals, tens of thousands turned out for funerals in Milwaukee, and the tragedy evoked far-reaching effects, including the establishment of a lighthouse and life saving service at Evanston, Illinois. However, the volatile 1860 presidential election leading to the start of the Civil War would overshadow the tragedy of the Lady Elgin’s loss, and the memory of the accident faded.
One hundred twenty-nine years after the disaster, the Lady Elgin became headline news again when the discovery of her wreck incited a legal battle over ownership, leading the state of Illinois to conduct a survey, initially directed by the author, to document several areas of debris off the shores of northern Illinois. Award-winning author Valerie van Heest, drawing on an extensive collection of primary materials amassed during and after the survey work on the Lady Elgin, provides a copiously researched historical narrative that recounts the golden age of passenger travel on the Great Lakes on the eve of a pivotal presidential election  and describes in detail the terrifying loss of the Lady Elgin as four hundred souls fought for their lives.  The 150th anniversary of the Lady Elgin’s loss is commemorated by this comprehensive account of the disaster.


Price $26.95 (includes S&H – US Only)

ISBN: 978-0-9801750-9-7
168 pages


Book-Unsolved MysteriesUnsolved Mysteries: The Shipwreck Thomas Hume
Valerie van Heest and William Lafferty
On May 21, 1891, the lumber schooner Thomas Hume and its crew of seven sailed out of Chicago, into a spring storm, never to be seen again. The vessel’s owners, Charles Hackley and Thomas Hume of Muskegon, Michigan, could not believe the sturdy lumber hooker could be overcome by rough water. Perhaps a freighter hit it, sank it, then steamed north. Or maybe the crew stole the Hume, repainted it, and sailed away under a different name.    The disappearance of the Thomas Hume lingered as one of the great unsolved mysteries of the Great Lakes. In recent years, it even became fodder for UFO stories on the internet.

More than a century after its disappearance, the discovery of the wreck of the Thomas Hume solved the mystery of its disappearance. However, the collection of shoes, clothing, jewelry, coins, and tools found inside generated even more questions.  An archaeological investigation by Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates and the Lakeshore Museum Center has attempted to solve the riddles posed by the shipwreck. After survey dives, historical research, and detective-like reasoning, the team pieced together not only the Thomas Hume’s career, but how its crew lived, worked, and died on the lake.


Price: $19.95 (includes S&H – US Only)

ISBN:978-0-9801750-8-0    
128 Pages – 140 Images


Book-Icebound

Icebound! The Adventures of Young George Sheldon and the S. S. Michigan
Valerie van Heest
A Story of Daring and Adventure…and it’s True
ICEBOUND! is an inspiring illustrated two-part story of perseverance and bravery that begins in 1885 and concludes in the present day.
Young George Sheldon, a porter aboard the steamship SS Michigan, is drawn into the adventure of a lifetime when his ship becomes trapped in the pack-ice in Lake Michigan during the great winter storm of 1885. Because of George’s heroic efforts, the captain and all twenty-nine crewmen live to tell the saga of how after thirty-nine icebound days, their ship is slowly crushed by the ice and sinks far from Holland, Michigan’s shore.
More than a century later, a determined team of scuba divers spend three long years searching the depths of Lake Michigan until they finally find the wreck of the SS Michigan in 275 feet of water. When they dive down to the shipwreck they discover that it’s a time capsule with everything just the way George and the crew left it when they abandoned their ship to make the dangerous walk across miles of frozen lake. They even find the oil lanterns that young George kept lit through the whole ordeal!


Price: $17.95 (includes S&H – US Only)

ISBN: 978-0-9801750-1-1  
48 pages


Through Surf and Storm: Shipwrecks of Muskegon County,Michigan Book-ThroughSurfAndStorm

Craig Rich

“We’re always ready for the call,
We place our trust in Thee.
Through surf and storm and howling gale,
High shall our purpose be.”

The words of the United States Coast Guard hymn bring to mind the dedication of those who always have been prepared to risk their own lives to save those whose lives are in peril on the Great Lakes. Whether the U.S. Life Saving Service, the U.S. Coast Guard or, at times, Keepers of the U.S. Lighthouse Service, mariners on the Great Lakes knew there were good men and women dedicated to coming to their assistance in times of emergency.
Small schooners carrying lumber eventually gave way to huge car ferries transporting railroad cars full of packaged goods across the lake to points west, as well as luxurious passengers steamers bearing businessmen and families to and from Chicago, Milwaukee, and other Great Lakes port cities. While vessel capacity and comfort were increased, the size of the losses were as well. Many of these vessels sank in deep water while others washed ashore to be broken up by wind, waves, and ice. Some exploded or burned at the dock while others simply rotted away after plying the lakes for decades. Modern man may catch glimpses of these historic vessels as shifting sands uncover and recover beach wrecks or the bones of abandoned schooners in shallow waters. Scuba divers visit other wrecks—many in surprisingly good condition—while the search continues for dozens of others still hidden under fathoms of cold, dark water.
These vessels and the men and women who served on them are an important part of our history. From the lumber barons and fleet owners of the 1800s to the charter fishing boat captains of the modern era, the men and women who make a living on the lakes paint a colorful maritime history of Muskegon County, Michigan.


Price: $17.95 (includes S&H – US Only)

ISBN: 978-0-98017504-
144 Pages – 60 photographs


Book-ForThoseInPerilFor Those In Peril: Shipwrecks of Ottawa County Michigan
Craig Rich
The lyrics of the hymn Eternal Father Strong to Save pay homage to sailors who risk their lives in the course of everyday work and aptly express the intriguing maritime heritage of Ottawa County, Michigan, a region along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan that saw many a ship and sailor lost.
The lake shore communities of Grand Haven and Holland became thriving commercial ports in the latter half of the 19th century and bore witness to the evolutionary changes in Great Lakes transportation. Early wooden sailing vessels were replaced by wooden steamers, which soon made way for steel vessels, which grew to include today’s thousand footers. Schooners laden with lumber and stone gave way to luxury passenger steamships ferrying Chicago’s wealthy tourists to Ottawa County’s grand tourist hotels.
Families were changed forever when husbands and sons were lost to the gales of November, and fortunes were lost when vessel owners tried to get just one more trip in before the harsh winters closed the ports. Many of these vessels were simply overtaken by age, mechanical failure or shifting sands. Some broke up on shore while others were refloated to sail again. Some were left to rot at the dock while others simply sailed over the horizon into oblivion never to be seen again. Many now serve as ice water museums, attracting scuba divers, explorers and historians to these shipwrecks that comprise an important part of the early history of Ottawa County and the Great Lakes region as well.


Price: $17.95 (includes S&H – US Only)

ISBN: 978-0-9801750-2-8
136 Pages – 55 photographs


Book-Buckets and BeltsBuckets and Belts: Evolution of the Great Lakes Self-Unloaders
by William Lafferty and Valerie van Heest
On a warm summer afternoon in 1927 off South Haven, Michigan, an aged barge began taking on water. Helpless to staunch the flow and realizing their vessel would inevitably sink, the crew escaped to the accompanying tug, and watched as their ship plunged beneath Lake Michigan. Its loss unlamented, its career unheralded, it slumbered on the sandy bottom in the same obscurity that had shrouded its earlier work days as a steam freighter sailing the Great Lakes. However, the vessel’s anonymity ended in 2006 when Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates located the sunken wreck of the Hennepin. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the world’s first self-unloading vessel.
Buckets and Belts: The Evolution of Great Lakes Self-Unloaders traces over a century of innovative technological advancements in the conveying of bulk cargos from the Hennepin’s conversion to a self-unloader in 1902 to today’s mammoth thousand-foot long lakers.
Enhanced with the most comprehensive collection of self-unloader images ever published and dozens of underwater photographs, the book also explores the lives of the people who designed these vessels, the crewmen who sailed them and the self-unloaders that tragically went to the bottom of the lakes, often taking entire crews with them.


Price: $27.95  (includes S&H – US Only)

304 pages


DVD Documentaries


DVD-LadyElginLost on the Lady Elgin
Lightning tore through the slate-black sky above lower Lake Michigan during the the early hours of Saturday, September 8, 1860, illuminating the palatial side-wheel steamer Lady Elgin as she lumbered north from Chicago through raging seas and gale winds. The vessel’s perilous journey would end abruptly when the schooner Augusta collided with the steamer, piercing a fatal wound in the steamer’s port side. Within minutes, the Lady Elgin foundered, forcing her terrified passengers and crew into the churning maelstrom. Some drowned quickly; others clung to small bits of wreckage throughout the horrific early morning; many lost their lives hours later in the churning surf along shore. Over three hundred people, mainly Irish-Americans from Milwaukee’s Third Ward, perished in the disaster—the worst maritime tragedy on the open waters of the Great Lakes.
One hundred twenty-nine years after the disaster, the Lady Elgin became headline news again when the discovery of her wreck incited a legal battle over ownership, leading the state of Illinois to conduct a survey to document several areas of wreckage off the shores of northern Illinois. Award-winning documentary producer and author of the book Lost on the Lady Elgin, Valerie van Heest narrates this documentary that takes the viewer back to the golden age of passenger travel on the Great Lakes and a petrifying night as four hundred souls fought for their lives, then underwater to explore the wreck and its many significant artifacts.

OUT OF STOCK!


$23.50 (includes S&H – US Only)

DVD-AlvinRaising the Alvin Clark

In 1969 a team of adventurous men and women involved in the relatively new sport of scuba diving accomplished what had never been done before on an amateur basis: Raising a century-old fully intact schooner, this one from the depths of Lake Michigan. Through archival underwater film footage of the shipwreck and the raising of the vessel, this program will explore the amazing accomplishment of the visionary and dedicated divers led by Wisconsin man, Frank Hoffman, whose efforts provided the world a glimpse, if only for twenty-five years, back to an age of schooners on the inland seas.


OUT OF STOCK!


DVD-Freshwater MonsoonFreshwater Monsoon
On a violently stormy November day on Lake Michigan more than a century ago, a small schooner loaded with slabs of freshly milled lumber wallowed in the trough of the huge seas as her captain and crew struggled to keep their ship afloat and their lives intact. More than a century later, Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates attempts to identify the wreck of a small schooner off Saugatuck, Michigan. Through painstaking research and several  dangerous dives to this deep site, MSRA explores not only the wreck, but the lumbering industry that sustained Michigan in its early years as a State. The journey ultimately leads to a surprising conclusion when it is realized that the schooner was swallowed by…a freshwater monsoon.


OUT OF STOCK!

$23.50 (includes S&H – US Only)


DVD-HennepinShe Died A Hard Death: The Sinking of the Hennepin
This is the exciting tale of the history, loss and discovery of the world’s first self-unloader. “She Died a Hard Death: The Sinking of the Hennepin” explains the critical role the Hennepin played in laying the foundation for the 1,000 footers of today. The Hennepin was discovered in 2006  off South Haven, Michigan. Her loss is told through a “newsreel” style re-enactment!


OUT OF STOCK!

$23.50 (includes S&H – US Only)


DVD-South AmericanQueen Of The Great Lakes — The S.S. South American
MSRA and the Joint Archives of Holland present a beautifully remastered DVD documentary about the SS South American.
The “South”, along with the SS North American and the SS Alabama, spent many years in Holland taking tourists on excursions throughout the Great Lakes.
This DVD documentary is filled with historic film footage of tone of the last of the cruise ships to ply the waters of the Great Lakes!


OUT OF STOCK!

$23.50 (includes S&H – US Only)


DVD-IceboundICEBOUND: Found! The ordeal of the SS Michigan
MSRA’s most exciting video documentary! This awesome tale includes a complete, live-action re-enactment of the final days of one of west Michigan’s most famous passenger steamers. The S.S. Michigan’s crew braved the elements before rescuing themselves 41 days later. This updated 2006 DVD includes exciting underwater video of the newly discovered wreck of the S. S. Michigan!


OUT OF STOCK!

$23.50 (includes S&H – US Only)


DVD-Planes Trains & ShipsPlanes, Trains & Ships
MSRA & NUMA team up to search for a DC-4 airliner lost over Lake Michigan in 1950 with the loss of 58 persons. The search for Northwest Airlines Flight 2501 led to the surprise discovery of a ship that wasn’t supposed to exist — the Great Lakes car ferry Ann Arbor no. 5. Just how this vessel ended up embedded on the bottom of Lake Michigan proved as much a mystery as the plane crash itself. Join MSRA as they solve the mystery of the Ann Arbor no. 5.


OUT OF STOCK!

$23.50 (includes S&H – US Only)


DVD-H. C. AkeleyThe Discovery of the H.C. Akeley

The H. C. Akeley was located in deep water in May 2001. It was the first significant shipwreck discovered by MSRA and its partners. This video tell of the search for the Chicora, which led to the discovery of the Akeley, well south of her suspected location. MSRA teams up with NOAA, the US Coast Guard and the University of Michigan to survey and document this historic shipwreck.


OUT OF STOCK!

$23.50 (includes S&H – US Only)


 

DVD-VeranoThe Verano: Porthole to the Past

One of the grandest pleasure yachts ever to cruise the Great Lakes now lies at the bottom of Lake Michigan in just 50 feet of water near South Haven. Just how this play toy of the rich and famous ended up sunk with the loss of three men is a tale of intrigue and reminds viewers of a cardinal rule of boating — always stay with your vessel until it sinks!


OUT OF STOCK!

$23.50 (includes S&H – US Only)