Supporters of maritime history in northwest Indiana are taking steps to protect the heritage of the SS Muskegon by establishing an underwater preserve. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report, if approved, the final resting place of the 150-year-old ship would become the state’s second preserve.
The wooden hulled vessel, which was launched in 1872, burned down in October 1910 off the coast of Michigan City. The following year, the 211-foot freighter was dragged about two miles out into Lake Michigan and sunk.
The publication says Indiana University’s Center for Underwater Science is leading a charge to create the preserve about 2.8 miles from the Mount Baldy beach at a depth of about 30 feet.
“I’ve had meetings with the Indiana DNR and it’s moving forward,” said Charles Beeker, center director who is also a diver. “The state accepted the nomination. We’re now working on the details and soliciting local support. We’re pleased the state has taken our recommendation.”
The preserve designation would mark the site with buoys and protect it for scuba diving and exploration.
Divers can see the ship’s frame, propeller, driveshaft, steam engine and twin boilers in their watery final resting place under Lake Michigan.
The Times says it would follow the J.D. Marshall Preserve, just off the shore at the Indiana Dunes State Park, that commemorates the capsized ship and four crew members whose history is on display at the state park’s Nature Center and Michigan City’s Old Lighthouse Museum.