History

Tracking Shipwrecks

There has been some excitement recently about the appearance of the Jennie and Annie – shipwreck that was uncovered on the beach around North Bar Lake. There was an article in the Record-Eagle on May 17th as well as in The Leelanau Ticker on May 11th.
 
Some Shipwrecks are not visible at all times due to water levels and the shifting sand that may cover them up completely. 

If you believe you have come upon a new piece of wreckage, you can help a Michigan Underwater Archaeologist, Wayne Lasardi, collect information! Please fill out this Beach Wreckage Documentation Form and mail it back to him at the address listed at the bottom of the page.   

Shipwrecks and related fragments ashore and in the water are owned and protected by the State of Michigan and given special status since all the park’s shores are within the Manitou Passage State Underwater Preserved. They are also protected by park under Federal law, however, the State retains ownership. If you see any shipwreck fragments, the must remain there, like all other artifacts from the National Lakeshore. 

 

More information about the other shipwrecks in the area can be found on our Shipwrecks page: https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/area-history-articles/shipwrecks

 
If you are walking the beach, you can reference existing shipwrecks here: 

The Jeane and Annie at Lacore Rd

Shipwreck Dune Trail North

 

Shipwreck on Dune Trail South: SBP#16, 2014

Shipwreck Lane Rd

New Shipwreck uncovered at North Bar Lake, 2020

Shipwreck at Sleeping Bear Point

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Shipwrecks of the Manitou Passage

Explore the shipwrecks of the Manitou Passage. The mainland shore of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has many shipwrecks from the 1800’s and early 1900’s for you to find. Some of these are described on this page.


Historic Beach Patrol

Fall was traditionally “shipwreck season” on the Great Lakes.  One hundred years ago, surfmen of the U.S. Life-Saving Service (LSS) set out each night to hike the shoreline in search of ships in distress.  The public is invited to relive history and join Park Rangers to recreate a traditional evening beach patrol.  Dress for the weather and meet at the Sleeping Bear Point Life-Saving Service Station/Maritime Museum in Glen Haven at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 15.

Before radio communications were used at sea, ships could not call for help.  Spotting a vessel in distress from the shore was the only way rescue crews knew that their assistance was needed.  The beach patrol was one essential part of an LSS surfman’s duties.  Following a more in-depth explanation of the patrol process and some local shipwreck stories told from inside the station, the public will accompany National Park Service Rangers for a lantern-lit hike along the beach.  There are always a few surprises along the way and everyone should carry a flashlight for safety.  Wind and rain will only make the patrol more authentic, so be ready for any weather!

Surfman finds life preserver on beach

Unlike the original surfmen, hikers may turn back at any time during the one-hour, one mile roundtrip beach walk and return to the Maritime Museum.  There, they will be welcomed by a volunteer and find shelter, warmth and a chance to see how the Life-Saving Service surfmen once lived in the restored crew’s quarters.  The entire program lasts about two hours.


Cannery Boat Museum

The Glen Haven Canning Company building is now the Great Lakes Boat Museum. Originally this building, located at the dock in Glen Haven was used to can fruit from the D.H. Day orchards and other local orchards.


Maritime Museum

The Sleeping Bear Point Life-Saving Station was commissioned in 1901 and later became the Coast Guard Station. It is now open as the Maritime Museum, where you can see the equipment these men used and learn about their lives at the station. Watch the Lyle Gun Demonstration on Thursdays in the Summer.


Blacksmith Shop

Visit the Blacksmith Shop in Glen Haven and watch the blacksmith at work. You can also learn about the history of the logging villages like Glen Haven and the role the smith had to play. If you’re lucky you can take a piece of metalwork home with you.


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