Scotia - Lost On Michigan's Keweenaw Point
By James Donahue
The Scotia was an iron hulled bulk carrier that joined a small armada
of shipwrecks that have collected off the tip of Lake Superior's Keweenaw Point.
This vessel wrecked there during a gale on Oct. 24, 1884 as the crew
was attempting to negotiate the narrows between the point and Manitou Island and possibly find shelter. The vessel was steaming
empty on its way to Duluth when it got caught in the storm.
But winter can arrive early on Superior and the skipper of the Scotia,
a Captain Bogart, found himself in a "whiteout" from heavy winds and snow squalls so heavy visibility sometimes was reduced
to zero. It was in the midst of such a squall at around 5 a.m. that the 231-foot ship went hard aground at the tip of the
The crew signaled the passing steamer Nyack that day, was taken off
the stricken vessel, and salvagers were notified.
At first the Scotia was considered salvagable even though it was resting
high out of the water. But as the storms intensified the pounding waves eventually broke the iron hull amidships and
she fell into ruin before salvagers could get to it.
One news reporter observed the wreck as follows: "The gangway decks
being apart five inches, the bottom all gone and the port side badly broken." It was said the bow remained high on the rocks
while a stern section settled in about ten feet of water. The 11-year-old Scotia was declared a total wreck and over the years
was broken up for scrap.
The Scotia was one of four identical iron steamers built by the King
Iron Co. at Buffalo, New York, in 1873. Her sisters were the Java, the Russia and the Cuba.