- SARAH CHISHOLM - Fine Art & Photography | The Shipwreck of the Ann Maria
150 Firework Finale150 Firework Finale

The Shipwreck of the Ann Maria

April 11, 2014  •  1 Comment

The Ann Maria, a beautiful wooden Great Lakes schooner, was built in 1864 in Ohio. She was bound from Cleveland across Lake Huron on October 7th, 1902, when she encountered an autumn gale off the coast of Kincardine, Ontario. Storms on the Great Lakes have claimed many ships, and anyone who has seen the lakes in a good storm knows the incredible power the waters can summon. The Ann Maria ran aground in fierce wind and waves off the South pier of Kincardine and was battered apart. After full dark, cries were heard from the harbour area, and the ship was spotted off shore in great peril. Four men jumped aboard a rescue boat and managed to reach the schooner, but waves overturned both ship and rescue boat, spilling the four rescuers and six Ann Maria crew into the cold waters. Three townsmen and two crew managed to swim back to the remains of the Ann Maria, where they clung until much later in the night, when it calmed down enough for them to be taken ashore. The other five souls did not survive, including the captain and one would-be rescuer from Kincardine. Today in 2014 the Ann Maria rests just on shore at Station Beach, a length of wooden "spine" with rusted iron nails jutting into the water, as a marker for those lost that fateful night. 

Shipwreck MoonsetShipwreck Moonset

The Ann Maria wreck as seen at night, moonset in summer

Depending on the water level or the way the sands have shifted, more or less of the wreck can be seen on shore. Above, in this eerie nighttime shot, you can see not only the "spine" of the shipwreck, but some of the "ribs" just under the sand as well. The shipwreck is exposed to the elements, including the yearly ice and snow build-up that comes with winter. Considering the long, harsh winter with record ice and snow we've just had, I wondered how the ship would have fared this year. Now that the frozen wasteland over the lake is finally breaking up, the wreck is visible under the open water again.
Shipwreck Under IceShipwreck Under Ice

The Ann Maria shipwreck, April 2014

Even some of the floorboards are visible just beside the centre beam, and a bit of the ribs beyond them. The antiquated wood doesn't appear to be too much the worse for wear from this biting past winter. 
Turquoise RestTurquoise Rest

Ice still clings to the wreckage, April 2014

I can't help but feel a sense of significance when I look at the remains of the Ann Maria... not only is she a part of our Great Lakes maritime history, but five lives were extinguished not far from where she rests. The sun sets beautifully just beyond the wreck, but it still retains an air of sadness. 
Wooden Ship's SunsetWooden Ship's Sunset

Sunset and the Ann Maria

Running Into The FogRunning Into The Fog
The "spine" of the shipwreck

Clouds Over WreckClouds Over Wreck

Clouds reflected over a ghostly outline

Next time you're on Station Beach in Kincardine be sure to wander toward the pier and look for the telltale poles marking the shipwreck. You might see quite a few pieces of the wooden schooner wreckage, or just a ghostly outline under the water, but you'll be visiting a relic of Kincardine and Great Lakes history, and the final resting place of the Ann Maria.

Edit: As of 2018, water levels in the lake have risen significantly, and the ship is now obscured by water and sand further off the shoreline. It is no longer visible.

Sarah Chisholm








Great blog Sarah, thanks for sharing! An important piece of Canadian marine history and beautiful photographs.
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