Condor sunk at the dock in OxBow

Condor sunk at the dock in Ox-Bow Lagoon

The schooner Condor sank near Shriver’s Bend in Ox-Bow Lagoon at the entrance to the Kalamazoo River  at Singapore (Saugatuck), Michigan in the spring of 1904 when its rotted sides were crushed by the spring ice. 

Built by Martin Olson in 1871 at Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the Condor was a 58 foot, two-masted schooner (some sources say scow schooner). She made her maiden voyage on July 11, 1871 under the command of Captain Olson, bound for White Lake, with a load of supplies. (Milwaukee Sentinel, July 17, 1871)

The Condor had a rather long and somewhat checkered career on the lakes with at least ten owners.  By 1875 the vessel was owned by George Mumm, of  Manitowoc, WI. Four years later, Henry Norton, of Manitowoc was the registered owner. She was rebuilt or repaired in 1881.

On May 14, 1883, the Condor went ashore in a fog near Sheboygan, while loaded with with lumber and shingles. The sheboygan lifeaving crew, with the assistance of the tug Kitty Smoke rescued the crew and refloated the vessel. From the annual report of the U.S. Life Saving Service:

“On May 14 at 7 o’ clock in the morning during the prevalence of a northeast rain storm the captain of the schooner Condor of Chicago, Illinois arrived at the Sheboygan Station Eleventh District Lake Michigan and requested assistance in saving his vessel which he reported had run ashore that morning at 3 o clock some six miles north of Sheboygan Harbor. She was a small vessel of thirty tons carrying a crew of but two men and was from Muskegon Michigan with a cargo of thirty thousand feet of lumber from Manitowoc, Wisconsin”

“The men had landed in their yawl without difficulty soon after she struck. The surf boat was at once launched and the station crew took the captain across the river to the tug Kitty Smoke with which arrangements were made for getting the schooner off, the party leaving soon afterwards in tow of the tug for the stranded vessel. They found her nearly high and dry and as the surf had increased and was too rough for successful operations it was decided not to do anything until the sea moderated.”

“The captain therefore returned with the relief party to Sheboygan. On the following morning, the 15th, the weather being favorable the station crew again went out in tow of the tug and after running the tug’s hawser, went to work lightening the schooner some manning the pumps to get the water out of her while the rest removed the cargo on to the beach, When this was done the tug commenced pulling on her and about an hour later the schooner got off and was towed to Sheboygan whence she was afterwards taken to Manitowoc for repairs. The captain thanked the station crew very heartily for their help in saving his vessel.”

In 1884 she was sold to August Evert of Chicago, then enrolled in Grand Haven in 1888. Two years later Condor was owned by Cochrane, in Muskegon who sold it to Captain Marine (George) Boomsluiter, of Grand Haven in 1892. 

She nearly met her end in 1898 when she became waterlogged and began sinking off Muskegon. The crew were assisted by the U.S. Life-Saving Crew, and the vessel towed into the harbor. The Condor underwent serious repairs, including being lengthened by ten feet to 68 feet in length.

Daniel Ludwig of Ludington purchased the vessel in 1900, but he sold it to William Sell of South Haven in 1901.

On Aril 1, 1904, while lying alongside the pier in the Kalamazoo River, and owned by Benson A. Ingraham of South Haven, the vessel was crushed by ice moving out during the spring breakup.

A week later, Captain Benjamin Randall of South Haven purchased the rights to the vessel. But on March 13, 1905, her documents were surrendered at Grand Haven  Michigan as “abandoned.”

In 1938 numerous artifacts were salvaged including her wheel & brass lantern. the wheel is displayed at theHolland Museum in Holland, Michigan.

Condor wheel

The wheel from the Condor, at the Holland Museum (See

The harbor entrance was moved in 1907 to eliminate the dogleg relegating the old Singapore and Ox-Bow area to obscurity. Over the decades the wreck has been salvaged, then forgotten, rediscovered, explored, and forgotten again.

Michigan diver Kevin Ailes rediscovered the wreck of the Condor in  the fall of 2014. He reports the vessel in 15 to 20 feet of water, decking somewhat intact with a tow bit at the bow and other original features still visible. “The hull is twisted, probably due to salvage attempts.” he says. “She was resold to salvagers twice after being sunk. The title wasn’t surrendered until 1905.”

An ariel view of Ox-Bow

An ariel view of Ox-Bow

Ailes took the following photos of the wreck in 2014 and 2015. The exact location of the wreck, accessible only via private property, will not be revealed.