Archived Story

Schooner sinking explored

Published 1:52pm Thursday, January 19, 2012

The sinking of the ship Rockaway off the shores of South Haven will be the subject of an illustrated presentation at the Michigan Maritime Museum, located at the drawbridge in South Haven, at 2 p.m. Jan. 29.

Kenneth Pott, formerly curator at the museum and currently the executive director of the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven, will be making the presentation.  In his academic and professional careers, Pott has worked maritime archaeological sites from Texas to East Africa with an emphasis on archeological dives in the Great Lakes region.  He has served on working committees of the national Trust for Historic Preservation, the Council of

American Maritime Museums, the Society of Professional Archaeologists and as president of the Historical Society of Michigan.

The 107-foot Rockaway was a scow schooner that plied the Great Lakes carrying grain, wood, coal, produce and packaged goods for about 25 years before perishing in a fierce autumn storm in November 1891.

The wreck was discovered accidentally in 1983 by perch fishermen Don Nichols Sr. and Jr. when their anchor got entangled on the anchor of the Rockaway  70 feet below.  The Nichols reported the wreck to the Michigan Maritime Museum, and the wreckage site was the focus of six seasons of archaeological fieldwork administered by the museum in cooperation with the Michigan Bureau of History and the Department of National Resources.

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