The Final Wreck of the Erie Belle
Last month (originally posted May of 2014), I wrote about the shipwreck that lies onshore just a stone's throw south of the Kincardine pier, the Ann Maria. This time I'm going to tell you about another wreck that lies onshore a bit more south of Kincardine, on Boiler Beach Road in Huron-Kinloss Township. All that now remains of the Erie Belle is the ship's boiler, which, ironically, was actually the catalyst to her ultimate demise. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Let's go back in time...
Autumn gales and storms on the Great Lakes have proved they can be incredibly powerful and destructive, and in mid-November 1883, Lake Huron was getting battered. A schooner named the J. N. Carter was loaded with timber, trying to brave the raging lake, when it overshot Kincardine harbour and made a turn back north for safety, ultimately running aground near the shore south of Kincardine. The Erie Belle tug was sent to the rescue, and arrived days later with tow ropes to pull the schooner from where it was stranded. It was not having much success, and the boiler filled with more and more steam as the ship struggled. It is thought somehow the steam was unable to escape from the relief valves, and as the engine began to overheat as well, the steam pressure inside the boiler reached the breaking point - there was a horrific explosion.
Loved your pictures and the history of the Erie Belle. We've been to the Boiler many many times over the last almost 30 years. It's a tradition to walk from Concession 12 to the Boiler and back on our last day of camping. One thing I am having a difficult time finding is the name of the men who died that November day. I would also like to know if any of them are buried in any of the local cemeteries.
Wow Sarah, loved reading the history of this ship. Pictures are amazing too. I hope to visit some time and have a look for myself.
Thank You for your story and great pictures. I still live in the area and drive past boiler beach daily always looking for the boiler. I have many happy memories of our fun times on the beach when we could drive along the water for some miles.
Bette McLeod haag(non-registered)
Yes I do love your historical stories. Sure do miss Kincardine and all the scenic sunsets. Memories. So many. Thanks you bring home back to me.
Eoin Mac Pherson(non-registered)
great pics and a very interesting story, I used to play on this boiler when I was a child...so nice to revisit it now through your work,thank you.
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