Hesper (shipwreck)

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Hesper Shipwreck Site
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
A section of several long bolts on the ceiling, presumably used to mount the engine.
Nearest city: Silver Bay, Minnesota, USA
Coordinates: 47°16′17″N 91°16′18″W / 47.27139°N 91.27167°W / 47.27139; -91.27167Coordinates: 47°16′17″N 91°16′18″W / 47.27139°N 91.27167°W / 47.27139; -91.27167
Built/Founded: 1890
Architect: Radcliffe, William H.; Shipowners Drydock Company
Governing body: State
MPS: Minnesota's Lake Superior Shipwrecks MPS
Added to NRHP: April 14, 1994
NRHP Reference#: 94000343 [1]

The Hesper was a bulk-freighter steamship that was used to tow schooner-barges on the Great Lakes. The Hesper sank off the coast of Lake Superior at Silver Bay, Minnesota, USA, in a late spring snowstorm in 1905. The remains of the ship are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The ship was a wooden-hulled, single propeller, triple-masted, freight-carrying steamship built by the Bradley Transportation Company in Cleveland, Ohio. The ship was used to haul both iron ore and grain, two products important to Minnesota's economy at the time.[2]

Namesake: Hesperus, the Evening Star
Builder: Ship Owners Dry Dock Company
Launched: June 28, 1890
Fate: Sank off the coast of Lake Superior in 1905
Notes: [3]
General characteristics
Displacement: 1540 long tons (1560 metric tons)
Length: 250 feet (76.2 m)
Beam: 41.6 feet (12.7 m)
Draught: 20.2 feet (6.2 m)
Propulsion: Vertical triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine, 825 horsepower
Complement: Captain E.H. Heaton and a crew of 15

The ship was caught in a late spring snowstorm in 1905, with a strong 60 miles per hour (100 km/h) Nor'easter wind driving the ship off its intended course and smashing it into a reef that now marks the southwest end of the harbor in Silver Bay. The ship foundered and sank in about 42 feet (13 m) of water. The crew was able to escape via lifeboats, but the ship was a total loss.[4]

The wreck is well-preserved and lies in 30 to 48 feet (9–15 m) of water about halfway down the west breakwall of the Silver Bay harbor. The hull is split apart at the turn of the bilge, and the port and starboard sides of the ship lie alongside and roughly parallel to the ceiling of the hull. The sides both contain timbers that were used to mount the decks, which are no longer present. The decks are presumed to have washed ashore after the ship sank. The aft end of the hull contains a number of long bolts that were presumably used to mount the engine.[5]