SS Chester A. Congdon


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The wreck of Chester A. Congdon was a tremendous financial loss. When declared a constructive total loss, officials placed the value at more than $1.5 million. Although the owners carried insurance of $365,000 on the hull and $369,400 in disbursements, the wheat cargo alone at $2.35 per bushel was worth $893,000 (Lake Carriers Association, 1918:143). Contemporary accounts labeled Congdon the largest loss ever sustained on the Great Lakes, surpassing the loss of Henry B. Smith, wrecked in 1913 (Lake Carriers Association, 1918:138; Canadian Railway and Marine World, 1918:567; Cleveland Plain Dealer, Nov. 10, 1918).

wide photo of the SS Chester A. Congdon being loaded with grain
SS CHESTER A. CONGDON being loaded with grain.

Great Lakes Maritime Collection, Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library, 221359_221381_F


The Story of the SS Chester A. Congdon

SS Congdon in its early years, flying a flag with the 'Salt Lake City' name


Origin and Original Dimensions

SS Congdon arriving to a harbor with lamps shining on the left side

Operational History

Years of Service

mangled Congdon twisted and sinking

Wreck Event

Incident and Survivor Accounts


Shipwreck Site

Wreckage consists of intact pilot house and bow section on south side of reef and an intact stern on north side. Much scattered wreckage is found on the reef between these major sections. Buoy on bow, attached at stern in 65 feet.

Map of Chester A. Congdon Bow Site

artist sketch of the SS Chester A. Congdon bow lying on the lakebed beside Canoe Rocks

NPS / J.L. Livingston


Quick Facts

SS Chester A. Congdon Quick Facts
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Last updated: November 24, 2020

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800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton , MI 49931


906 482-0984

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