Vessels sink in Cass County, tooPublished 2:16pm Thursday, March 21, 2013
CASSOPOLIS — Who knew Cass County had shipwrecks?
Diver Jim Scholz can recount a couple, a ferry to Diamond Lake’s island and the excursion steamer ferry taxi Fenetta L. at Indian Lake.
Three officials in 1872 built the Chicago House, or club house, later known as Forest Hall, with a bowling alley and dance floor.
Two 65-foot steam boats plied the lake, including the Powers.
“That’s a large boat, carrying 350 people. You’re talking multiple decks,” Scholz said.
In 1913, the double-deck steamer South Bend burned to the water line.
“In ’34, it was hauled out and dynamited,” he said. “In 1989, divers Zoltan Tiser, Bill Archer, Dave Yates and Jim Couch collected all the pieces back to one area and marked it for other divers. Zoltan I know. The wreck is still there. Our club usually dives it two or three times a year. As soon as ice is off the lake is the best time for visibility. And cold water is clear water.”
The Fenetta L. resembled the African Queen of the 1951 film and was named for the wife of resort owner Walter E. Tuttle. Built in 1901, it was scuttled and lies on the bottom directly out from Indian Lake Yacht Club.
“Indian Lake has a lot of sand and muck. Deep muck,” he said. “The guys located this two years ago. At one point, the steam whistle and stacks were above the muck. Now they’re buried. That muck is at least 10 feet deep.”