S.C. Baldwin (1871)
Gallery
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S.C. Baldwin's bow, looking toward the stern
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An archaeologist investigates the remains of S.C. Baldwin's stern section
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Starboard stern cant frames on the S.C. Baldwin site
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Archaeologists investigate the remains of the weather deck near the remaining upright deck stanchions
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The intact stern section of S.C. Baldwin, with the capstan still attached to the deck
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An archaeologist records wreckage near the S.C. Baldwin's upright stem post
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S.C. Baldwin at dock circa 1873-1882
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S.C. Baldwin being loaded with stone at the Green Stone Company dock next to the Ida Corning and the tug Torrent
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S.C. Baldwin tied up at dock, circa 1873- 1882
By The Numbers
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Sank
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Today


In the mid-1970’s, sport fisherman located the wreck site and reported it’s location to area divers. Since that time, the site has been a popular dive site as it lies in only 75 feet of water. Today, the vessel sits upright on the bottom with its stem post rising 30 feet off the bottom. Sections of the vessel's hull, including the stern, stern deck, and transom, remain intact. In the summer of 2015, maritime archaeologists and volunteers from the Wisconsin Historical Society completed a full Phase-II archaeological survey of the S.C. Baldwin , producing a detailed site plan, and site description of the site.
Service History


The steam barge S.C. Baldwin was built in Detroit, Michigan by the Campbell and Owen Company for the Escanaba & Lake Michigan Transportation Co. in 1871 to carry iron ore from Escanaba, Michigan to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois. Measuring 160 feet in length, 30 feet in beam, and with an 11.6 foot depth of hold, S.C. Baldwin had a gross tonnage of 418 tons and only one deck. The steamer was outfit with an engine built by the Dry Dock Engine Works, and featured a cylinder with a 26 inch bore and a stroke measuring 32 inches, and featuring a “double crank”. Named for an officer of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, S.C. Baldwin operated in this capacity until 1873. In March 1873, S.C. Baldwin underwent major repairs in Chicago, including receiving a second deck to increase its carrying capacity. Following re-measurement, the vessel was given a rating of 634 gross tons. With the addition of a second deck in 1873, S.C. Baldwin is reputed to be the first double decked steamer on the Great Lakes. The vessel operated in this configuration, hauling iron ore and towing consort barges laden with ore, until 1879, when it was purchased by the Inter Ocean Transportation Company of Milwaukee for $22,000, to haul iron ore and other freight from Escanaba to Milwaukee and Chicago. S.C. Baldwin continued to carry cargos of iron ore from Escanaba for the Inter Ocean Transportation Company and the North Chicago Rolling Mill Company for the next three seasons. In April 1882 the vessel was sold to David Whitney Jr. of Detroit. At the time of its enrollment in 1882, S.C. Baldwin still retained two decks. Near the end of April of that year, however, the vessel’s upper deck was removed in order to outfit the vessel for use in the lumber trade. With the removal of the upper deck, S.C. Baldwin's gross tonnage was reevaluated and its gross tonnage was lowered to 412.5 tons. Following additional repairs in August 1882, the vessel’s gross tonnage was lowered once again to 356 gross tons. Additional changes were made to the vessel in 1884 following engine failure during a storm near Port Colborne. The vessel’s original engine was replaced with a 450 horsepower steeple compound engine. The vessel continued to serve as a steamer in the lumber and coal trades with little incident, towing barges in consort regularly up and down Lake Michigan, until 1903 when S.C. Baldwin ran into ice and sank in Green Bay, 10 miles north of the entrance to the Fox River, near Long Tail Point. The vessel had been heading from Green Bay to Buffalo, New York with a cargo of lumber when it struck an ice pack and sank. Reports of the vessel’s depth varied, but it was said that its bow was still breaking the surface of the water, and a salvage attempt was planned. The tugs Wright and Nelson went to raise the vessel a few days after the sinking, but only succeeded in moving the vessel 25 feet and causing its deck cargo of lumber to fall of the vessel, taking the upper cabin structure with it. Following this attempt, the S.C. Baldwin was left underwater until the ice hardened enough for commencing recovery operations in February. By the beginning of April 1904, S.C. Baldwin was raised and bought by Adolph Green of the Green Stone Company. Other than damage to the vessel’s keel and rudder, the vessel remained in good condition. In July, the Green Stone Company began converting S.C. Baldwin into a stone barge, with its machinery being removed over the winter of 1904. By June of 1905, the vessel began operating as a stone barge for the Green Stone Company, hauling limestone from Sturgeon Bay to Milwaukee and ports up and down Lake Michigan’s coast. S.C. Baldwin operated in this capacity, hauling stone for the Green Stone Company and the Leathem and Smith Stone Company until August 27, 1908.
Service History


On August 26, while in tow of the tug Torrent , S.C Baldwin and the scow #37 were headed southbound from Sturgeon Bay with cargoes of stone. As the vessels were passing Kewaunee, a storm began to blow and S.C Baldwin began to take on water around midnight. Around 3am, the vessel capsized, dumping its cargo of stone, and remained unnoticed by the crew aboard Torrent until sunrise. As the vessel overturned, two of the three men aboard jumped clear of the vessel, but one crew member, Tildman, remained clinging to the overturned vessel. Once the crewmen aboard Torrent realized the situation, they cut the lines to the vessel, which had been holding it up, and S.C Baldwin righted and quickly went to the bottom. Tildman was picked up by Torrent and the tug began to search for the two missing crewmen who had jumped from S.C Baldwin . Having no luck, Torrent steamed to Manitowoc to alert the lifesaving station there. Torrent and other vessels returned to the wreck site to retrieve scow #37 and continue to search for the missing men. It was not until 3pm on August 28, nearly 13 hours after S.C Baldwin sank, that Captain George Heim was located. He had managed to don a life-jacket and cling to bits of wreckage until he was spotted six miles off of Kewaunee by crew members aboard the Goodrich steamer Caroline . The other crew member, Jacob Witgen was not located until his body washed ashore north of Kewanee a few days later. In mid-September 1908, a diver from the Great Lakes Company offered to dive to S.C Baldwin and recover everything of value, including the boiler, bilge pump, anchors, and cables.
 
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