The Cornelia B Windiate, designed to carry only 16,000 bushels of wheat, left Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with 21,000 bushels in late November 1875.
She sailed toward Buffalo, New York, and a crew of nine battled extreme cold and high winds.
The final moments of the Cornelia B Windiate are a mystery.
Spray from huge waves may have coated it with many layers of ice. This ice would have added an immense weight to the overloaded ship. These factors would have made handling the vessel quite impossible. The Cornelia B Windiate vanished off Presque Isle.
The Windiate was found in 1986 by divers. Before that, people believed the Cornelia B Windiate never made it to Lake Huron. The Windiate sits upright in 185 feet of water in clear, cold Lake Huron waters.
Her masts still stand, and the crew’s lifeboat rests silently nearby.
Her nearly intact remains are a dramatic reminder of the dangers of late-season travel on the Great Lakes.
The masts are not all fully intact, but the forward mast amazingly still has a yard still attached.
The Cornelia B Windiate is one of few fully intact Schooners in the Great Lakes. All three masts of this schooner are standing.
The Windiate’s length originally was 138 feet & beam 26 feet.
Her gross tonnage was 322. It was carrying grain when it sank on November 27, 1875.
The main cabin is still in place, displaying intricate woodwork along its sides and back cabin wall.
Although upset above the rudder post, the ship’s wheel is still present.
The main cabin displays ornate woodworking on the exterior and interior as well.
A lonesome yawl boat rests below the Windiate’s starboard stern next to its rudder.
The hull shows no damage, and the hatches are still in place, which indicates the ship did not hit anything or get crushed by lake ice. Weather records from that day reported snow, high winds, and waves on Lake Huron during the hours the Windiate was lost.