Few Great Lakes vessels are recalled with more genuine affection than the passenger/package freight vessel America
. She is the most dived shipwreck at Isle Royale National Park.
was constructed by the Detroit Dry Dock Company and launched on Saturday, April 2, 1898. Her original length of 164.6 feet
was increased 18 feet in 1911.
In March 1902, the Booth Steamship Line purchased the vessel and put America
on the Duluth Port Arthur and Isle Royale route.
In the early morning hours of June 7, 1928, America
dropped off passengers at the Singer Hotel dock on Isle Royale. Five minutes
after clearing the dock the ship thudded over a reef tearing a small hole in its hull below the engine room on the starboard side.
Capt. Smith decided to try and reach a small gravel beach at nearby North Gap of Washington Harbor. America
ground to a halt about 30 yards short of the beach. All 15 passengers and 30 crew members made it safely to shore in the life boats.
SS America Statistics
- Year Built - 1898
- Configuration - Steel hull screw steamer with oak superstructure
- Dimensions - 182.6 ft. (orig. 164.6 ft.) length, 31 ft. beam, 11 ft. depth
- Engine - Triple expansion with cylinder diameters of 15, 24 and 38 in. and 24 in. stroke, 700 hp at 160 rpm
- Boilers - Two scotch boilers 10 ft. diameter and 10 ft. 2 in. long, working pressure of 125 psi
- Top speed - 17 mph
Picture of pilot house soon after sinking
Picture of America soon after sinking
Sightseers standing on starboard hull
Perspective drawing of the wreck site today