Pathfinder (1869)
Gallery
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Aerial photograph of the Pathfinder site taken from powered-parachute by Suzze Johnson in the summer of 2013
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Archaeologist takes measurements on Pathfinder's bow
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Aerial photograph of the Pathfinder site taken from powered-parachute by Suzze Johnson in the summer of 2013
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Frame sets and reinforced keelson assembly
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Archaeological site plan
By The Numbers
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Built
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Sank
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Lives Lost
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Depth (ft)
 
 
Final Voyage


On the night of November 17, 1886, Pathfinder was loaded with a cargo of iron ore and in tow of the steambarge Jim Sheriffs north of Twin Rivers Point (now Rawley Point) when they encountered an enormous gale and snowstorm. By 10 PM, Pathfinder iced up and broke her towline. The captain of the Jim Sheriffs made several attempts to pick her up, but the sea conditions prevented him from getting near her and she went ashore in bed of quicksand at about 4 AM.
Service History


The schooner barge Pathfinder worked in the grain trade making several trips carrying coal from ports on Lake Erie to the upper Lakes and returning with grain. Pathfinder was large for a wooden schooner measuring nearly 200 feet in length. To achieve that length she was built with a massive reinforced keelson structure.
Today


Pathfinder lies in 15 feet of water, in a bed of quicksand. The site was reported by Suzze Johnson while flying in a powered parachute in the fall of 2013. Measuring just less than 200 feet in length, Pathfinder is an excellent site for exploration by divers, kayakers, and snorkelers.Though the hull structure has split and twisted, most of the vessel’s lower hull remains intact, as does the cargo of iron ore Pathfinder was carrying when she sank. Though much of her upper deck works, rigging, and anchors were salvaged shortly after her grounding, major structural components of the vessel remain points of interest for visitors, including her centerboard trunk and keelson structure.
 
Map
Confirmed Location     Unconfirmed location
© 2017 - Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Historical Society