The final days of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Nov 9, 2017

For the anniversary of the Edmund Fitzgerald's final voyage, mlive has put together an interactive graphic about the doomed freighter. It provides some of the radio chatter that surrounded the freighter as it was pummeled by a powerful storm on Lake Superior.

On Nov 9, 1975, the ship headed from Duluth toward the Detroit area, loaded with a low grade iron ore called taconite. But it ran into high winds and waves, and other ships lost sight of it the next day amid the storm. (That's not uncommon for Lake Superior; waves more than 28 feet high were recorded recently.) 

All 29 crew members died.

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, which has a bell retrieved from the Fitzgerald, will hold its annual memorial ceremony on Nov. 10. The bell is rung 30 times -- one for each lost crew member, and once more for all lost sailors.

The museum has the complete story of the ship. That includes her provenance (built by the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. of Milwaukee) and namesake (the president of Northwestern Mutual). Launched in 1958, she measured 729 feet long and 13,632 gross tons -- the largest ship on the Great Lakes until 1971.

As Lightfoot sang: The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down

Of the big lake they call 'gitche gumee'
Superior, they said, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.