W.C. Franz

Dateline…..November 21st, 1934, 3:27 am, off Thunder Bay in Lake Huron. The wireless operator of the 350’ W. C. Franz: “Collision, Calling All Vessels, Crew Taking to the Lifeboats”. It is an extraordinary tale of heroics by the Steamer Loomis as 18 of 22 crewmen survive, without the Franz launching a single lifeboat. A dedicated team of shipwreck hunters discovered the Franz sitting upright, remarkably well preserved after resting on the floor of Lake Huron for 7 decades.

Other Names:built as URANUS, renamed in 1913
Official Number:C130775
Vessel Built:1901, Wyandotte, MI US# 25339
Vessel Specifications: 346x48x28, 3429gc 2030nc
Type of Vessel:Steamer
Depth to Deck:200 ft (61m)
Depth to Bottom:230 ft (70m)
How it Sunk:Up bound and light, the 350 foot steamer W.C. Franz completed her final voyage in the early hours of that fateful day. The steamer Loomis, down bound with packaged freight, struck deeply into the port side of the W.C. Franz. Brief radio messages from the Canadian vessel Franz tell of the mishap and quick orders to take to the lifeboats. The lifeboats were not in good working order and many of the crew ended up in dangerously cold water. The steamer Loomis lowered lifeboats and picked up the survivors from frigid Lake Huron. The steamer W.C. Franz is sitting upright on the floor of Lake Huron, remarkably well-preserved.
Loss Type:Collision
Date of Loss:1934, Nov 21
Place of Loss:Off of Harisville, MI
Vessel Cargo:Light
Lives Loss:4
References:Shipwreck File by Dave Swayze
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March 30, 2017

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