Divers Found a Shipwreck with a 1927 Chevy Parked Inside
Divers in Lake Huron have recently discovered the wreckage of a ship named the Manasoo. While neat in and of itself, the wreck revealed another amazing piece of history: a 1927 Chevrolet Coupe.
Despite spending 90 years 200 feet (61 meters) below the surface of Georgian Bay, both the ship and the automobile are in excellent condition. The bow of the vessel is pointing up; the pilothouse, ship’s wheel, and lifeboats are all unscathed except for the invasive zebra and quagga mussels that almost completely cover the surfaces.
Maritime historian Cris Kohl, who was part of a team that found the Manasoo, said the first images of the ship left him speechless - “It’s one of the coolest shipwrecks I’ve seen on the Great Lakes.”
Although Kohl is a scuba diver, the Manasoo was too deep a dive for his certification so he could only watch in amazement at the sonar and video images of the wreck.
The search team was led by Kohl’s friend Ken Merryman, who has the archeological license to search for the wrecks, and Jerry Eliason, both from Minnesota. They found the Manasoo June 30 and then, on the very next day, the J.H. Jones steamer that sunk off the Bruce Peninsula in 1906 with 30 lives lost - rare back-to-back discoveries.
The 178-foot-long ship was built in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1888. It started off as the S.S. Macassa, carrying tourists and cargo between Toronto and Hamilton on Lake Ontario for its first 39 years.
In early 1928 it was purchased by the Owen Sound Transportation Company. When the ship changed the owners it was renamed. The name “Manasoo” was a mix of “man" taken from Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario and "Soo" from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - the names of the ports it would have served. This likely fueled old sailor superstition, which suggests it’s bad luck for anyone to change the name of a vessel. After the name change, the ship didn’t even make it through the first season.
The Manasoo sank in a storm Sept. 15, 1928. The Chevy’s owner, Donald Wallace, was the only passenger to survive along with the captain and three sailors. Sixteen people died along with more than 100 head of cattle Wallace had purchased.
The experts at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society say it’s unlikely that the ship will ever be brought to the surface - but they hope to retrieve the car and display it in a local museum.