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The wreck of Indiana lies in 120 feet of 34-degree water at the bottom of Lake Superior, whose depth and temperature helped preserve the artifacts.

Map of Lake Superior showing the site of the Indiana shipwreck

Boiler of the Indiana

From one of the first propeller steamboats on Lake Superior
Seen here aboard the deck of a salvage ship is the boiler of the Indiana, one of the earliest propeller steamboats to ply the waters of Lake Superior. On June 6, 1858, while carrying three passengers, 17 crew, and 250 tons of iron ore, Indiana's propeller stuffing box was reported to have broken. The resulting leak proved irreparable underway, and those on board were forced to abandon ship. Within a short period, the wooden-hulled Indiana sank 120 feet to the sandy bottom of Lake Superior. In 1980, the engine, boiler, propeller, and steering quadrant were recovered and transported to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

Built by Joseph M. Keating at Vermilion, OH
146' x 23' x 11'
Web display only

Learn more!
· Discovery of the Sunken Indiana

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