Exploring Duluth and Its Maritime History through Fitger’s

Each year, Fitger’s Lakefront Hotel hosts many tourists who visit Duluth to witness the legends of beautiful ships that Lake Superior has claimed throughout history.

Our luxury hotel is located at the far corner of Lake Superior. It features serene beauty but can also present great danger. You may find it hard to believe that these calm waters once hosted some of history’s most dramatic and legendary maritime tales.

Today, let’s travel through time to discover the stories of the famous ships of Lake Superior – vessels that succumbed to the lake’s notorious storms and now rest in its mysterious depths.

The Edmund Fitzgerald

SS Edmund Fitzgerald in 1971

Image Source: Wikipedia

Not many people in the 50s could imagine the possibility of a freighter as colossal as the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, measuring over 729 feet long. It was the largest ship on the Great Lakes when it was launched in 1958. The Fitzgerald’s fate was sealed on November 10, 1975, when a powerful storm swept across Lake Superior.

The ship’s size and the crew’s experience were exceptional, but the Fitzgerald couldn’t stand the fierce winds and towering waves that reached up to 35 feet. It disappeared from the radar without a distress signal. The wreck was later found split in two on the lake floor. The depths were hard to reach for exploration. The legend of Edmund Fitzgerald was immortalized by Gordon Lightfoot’s haunting ballad.

Fitger’s: A Beacon of Comfort Amidst Stormy Tales

At Fitger’s, we provide the perfect haven for those intrigued by the mysteries of the deep. Our luxurious rooms offer sweeping views of the very waters that claimed the Fitzgerald, and our attentive staff ensures your stay is as delightful as it is educational.

After a day of exploring local shipwreck stories, you return to your elegant suite to find a cozy fireplace crackling and a glass of fine wine waiting. Here, you can reflect on the day’s discoveries while enjoying unparalleled comfort.

The Stalwart William A. Irvin

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In a way, what makes the SS William A. Irvin uniquely notable is its tragic final act, amazing lifespan, and being preserved into an iconic museum ship today. A classic 1937 lake freighter, the William A. Irvin was built for carrying iron ore, coal, and limestone on the Great Lakes.

During its 40 years in operation, the Irvin was known for being a rugged workhorse and offering luxurious quarters. Titled after the president of U.S. Steel, William A. Irvin, the vessel was the pride of the Great Lakes fleet for that company.

The Irvin survived the vicious storms that took down so many of its competitors. The vessel did not sink but was gracefully retired in 1978 after a storied career that included an enormous number of voyages and carrying millions of tons of cargo.

It became a permanent fixture in the Duluth harbor, serving as a display of a Floating Museum. It has been carefully restored, keeping all historical features. The avenues to navigate Irvin for today’s guests are the pretty passenger cabins of this elegant ship, and cavernous cargo holds in which they may picture freight being arranged and delivered. It had an incredibly advanced engine room.

A step inside the SS William A. Irvin is a step back in time to the world of a 20th-century sailor. The ship has luxurious accommodations, which feature a dining room with porcelain china, along with a lounge graced in wood and brass. The interior stands in sharp contrast with the utilitarian spaces where the crew lived and worked. Guided tours provide interesting explorations of the ship’s past, the cargo it brought over, and also its passengers and crew. It might be fair to say that Irvin brings her amazing history alive with a unique combination of wonderfully preserved artifacts and interesting storytelling, making it one of the best things for any maritime fan.

Some Other Tragic Tales of Lake Superior

The SS Bannockburn


Image Source: Wikipedia

The Bannockburn’s tale is steeped in lore, known as the ‘Flying Dutchman of the Great Lakes’. It was a Canadian grain freighter that vanished without a trace during a gale in November 1902. The last sighting of the Bannockburn reported it plowing through heavy seas before disappearing forever. No wreckage was ever found, and no one ever received any distress signals.

Since it disappeared, many sailors have claimed to see the Bannockburn’s ghostly sight plowing through the waters of Lake Superior in stormy weather. These stories have earned the Bannockburn a place in maritime folklore.

The SS Kamloops

SS Kamloops in 1925

Image Source: Wikipedia

The SS Kamloops was a Canadian steamship that met its tragic end during a fierce winter storm in December 1927. It was carrying a cargo of wire and general merchandise, making its way to the western ports, when it vanished. The ship’s wreck was not discovered until 1977, resting more than 200 feet below the surface near Isle Royale.

When discovered, the ship’s hold was still packed with its cargo. They even found the skeletal remains of some crew members. The frigid waters had preserved the vessel remarkably well. It was a time capsule of that tragic day. Divers who explore the wreck often report an overwhelming sense of history and tragedy.

Fitger’s is Your Gateway to the Great Lakes’ Ghostly Past

Fitger’s Luxury Lakefront Hotel is your ideal base for exploring the legends of Lake Superior. Our unique blend of comfort, history, and adventure ensures that your stay will be memorable and enlightening.

So why not book your stay today? Dive into the depths of the lake’s past, uncover the secrets of its shipwrecks, and perhaps the most adventurous trip of your life. At Fitger’s, the legend of Lake Superior is just a wave away. We invite you to explore these stories and reflect on the lake’s rich maritime heritage.