Toledo (1854)
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Service History


The Toledo was a 179 foot long, double decked passenger and freight steamer that became part of the American Transport Company. This fleet operated on the Great Lakes catering to immigrants on their way to settle in Wisconsin and Minnesota. In 1855, the Toledo was involved in two collisions, one in Lake Huron and another in Cleveland Harbor.
Final Voyage


"Much of the travel between east and middle west then was by ship on the Great Lakes and the Toledo had aboard 80 persons, including passengers and crew, when it docked at the old Port Washington pier to discharge passengers and freight. The ship was ready to clear when a sudden summer storm blew up. The captain decided to keep on for Milwaukee. The storm increased in violence so rapidly that the ship was only 20 rods from the pier when it became apparent that she could not make headway and was getting into difficulties. Watchers ashore could see the crew breaking out the anchor. The chain fouled the hawse pipe and the hook hung clear of the bottom. Axes were wielded desperately in an effort to clear the chain but the ship drove on until she piled on the beach and broke up rapidly. Only two persons were saved..." "Several of the officers and agents of our city Insurance Companies returned from Port Washington yesterday, whither they had gone to see about the wreck of the ill-fated propeller Toledo. They described the scene as an awful one. For two miles, or more, the lake shore is lined with fragments of the wreck, piled up, in many places, several feet high....The heavier portions of the hull have come ashore in large pieces, but the upper works are broken up into innumerable fragments. All the dry goods and furniture boxes have been rent asunder by the force of the waves and their contents riddled by the sand, like sieves, and scattered far and wide along the coast..." 10/28/1856 Estimates of the loss of life varies from 30 to 40 or 80 people.
Today


"Vessel is extremely broken and scattered; rests on bottom of sand, rocks and hard packed clay in 20 feet of water. Wreckage is scattered over a large area, starting about two yards off shore; rock piles have trapped unidentified artifacts. Some ships decking, machinery and the smokestack are intact. Boilers & engine were salvaged after the wreck."
 
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