Ely Stabilization Project: 2000 Season Report
by Bob Nelson, Ely Project Chairman
On October 19, 1896, the Samuel P. Ely went aground on the breakwater at Two Harbors, Minnesota, during a fierce storm, and finally settling on the lake bottom. She has lain there ever since, slowly deteriorating and being stripped of her possessions, until a group of concerned divers came to save her 98 years later. Many of these divers later established the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society. The society is continuing to preserve the Ely and other Great Lakes shipwrecks. As far as is known there are no other representatives of these 200-foot, 3-masted Great Lakes schooners so well preserved, and the goal of the GLSPS is to preserve this shipwreck as is being done with above water National Register of Historic Places sites.
For the year 2000, we plan to continue the Ely’s preservation by monitoring the shipwreck for changes and movement, placing a mooring block and along side her, begin mapping the ship and site, and continue stabilization of the hull. In April, we will continue monitoring the hull for movement and absolute position changes of various parts and areas of the hull and deck, and also identify any immediate preservation work needed. In May, we plan to place a mooring block and shipwreck buoy. This will both mark the shipwreck and allow boats to tie up. We have the buoy, but still need a mooring block of 5000 to 10,000 pounds or something else that will work. We plan to begin mapping the Ely in June or July; hoping to complete the drawings within 2 years. By the end of summer, we should have a detailed plan for the Ely’s further preservation activities. We are looking for a few more good divers to help with these projects. Contact Bob Nelson at 651-426-1159 or through our web site if you would like to help.