The steel hull steamer Frontenac
, named after the seventeenth century governor of New France, was built at the Great Lakes Engineering Works in River Rouge, Michigan in 1923. The vessel was built for hauling taconite and was owned by the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company.
November 22, 1979, Silver Bay Harbor, Lake Superior. A heavy snow storm reduced the visibility to near zero, the navigational light at the mouth of the harbor was out and at 9:40 pm the Frontenac
ran aground on the reef off of Pellet Island dragging, uplifting and pounding across the rocks causing major damage to the hull. By 7:45 the following morning the Coast Guard cutter Mesquite
arrived to help followed by the fuel lighter Reiss Marine
which completed removing the fuel by the following midnight. The vessel now floated free and was towed to the nearby Reserve dock where temporary repairs were made. The Frontenac
was then escorted to a drydock in Duluth by the Pontiac
and the Peninsula
where the damage proved to be extensive.
back was broken, more than half of the the hull plates were buckled and the keel was twisted and shoved upward some four feet. The vessel was considered a total loss. Later the damaged hull was moved to Superior, Wisconsin where the final scrapping process was completed on December 20, 1985.
The Cleveland-Cliffs steamer Frontenac
was scraped at Superior, Wisconsin in 1985. The pilot house was moved to Two Harbors, Minnesota in 1987 where it now overlooks Lake Superior near the lighthouse.