The two-masted schooner H.L. Whitman
was launched into the Milan Canal on the Huron River, eight miles from the shores of Lake Erie. Over her career, she carried produce, salt, grains, general merchandise and lumber on all of the Great Lakes.
On the night of October 11, 1869 while bound from Oconto, Wisconsin to Chicago with a cargo of lumber, H.L Whitman
’s owner/captain E. Finn navigated too closely to Racine’s North Point (now known as Wind Point) and struck the reef. Her deck load was thrown overboard in an attempt to lighten the vessel, but the ship filled with water and sank. A storm created heavy seas that pounded the vessel on the reef and broke the ship into pieces over the next week, preventing her salvage.
Over time many pieces of wreckage washed up on the shoreline and today all that remains is the ship’s keel, keelson and frames of her bilge section.