Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Service

On November 10, 1975, the 729-foot steamer Edmund Fitzgerald was lost in an infamous Lake Superior storm near Whitefish Point, Michigan with her entire crew of 29 men. The Fitzgerald’s story has become a popular legend through a song by Canadian folksinger Gordon Lightfoot – and the cause of her loss remains a mystery thirty-five years later.

The bell of this most famous Great Lakes shipwreck was recovered at the request of surviving family members in 1995 and is now on display as a memorial at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, Michigan. The Shipwreck Museum will offer its annual Memorial Service this year on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 beginning at 7:00 pm in the Shipwreck Museum building. Public seating will begin no earlier than 6:30 pm on a first-come, first-served basis.

Every five years, special efforts are made to enhance this annual event. In 2010, the Fitzgerald service will be conducted by the Reverend Richard Ingalls, Jr. who is Rector of the Mariner’s Church in Detroit. As Lightfoot’s song describes, Rev. Ingalls’ father “rang the bell twenty-nine times for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

The Mariner’s Church offered its own annual Fitzgerald services until 2005, when the decision was made to change it to a general memorial service for all Great Lakes Sailors. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is now the only institution on the Great Lakes offering a public Memorial Service specifically for the Fitzgerald.

The public is cordially invited to attend. The service includes music, reflections, and a Call to the Last Watch Ceremony during which the bell is tolled 29 times for each crew member, plus a 30th ring to remember all Mariners lost on the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum will be open on Wednesday, November 10 from 11 am to 4 pm. The Shipwreck Coast Museum Store will be open that day from 11 am to 7 pm, with special pre-holiday sales prices. Standard museum admission rates apply; admission to the Fitzgerald Service is free.

Image: Panorama of Museum Campus at Sunset, Museum photographer Chris Winters has captured a special mood, showing several campus buildings, just before sunset.

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum Whitefish Point 18335 N. Whitefish Point Road, Paradise, MI 49768

For more information, please call the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. at 888-492-3747

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  1. S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald 36 Year Anniversary
    November 10, 2011

    RIVER ROUGE — A memorial service is planned for Thursday November 10, 2011 to remember the 29 men who died when the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975.
    The ceremony is set for 6 to 8 p.m. and the heated tent open at 4:30 p.m. for viewing Edmund Fitzgerald artifacts, near the Mariners Memorial Lighthouse at Belanger Park, off Belanger Park Drive and Marion.
    The event is held in River Rouge because that’s the city where the vessel was built in 1957 and ’58.
    Several speakers will give their memories of the ship, including people who helped construct it and relatives of some of the deceased crewmen.
    Artifacts, photographs and videos also will be on display and you can talk to the Fitz Ship Builders, past Crew Members and Fitz Family Members.
    At 7:10 p.m. — the time the ship sank — a wreath will be tossed into the Detroit River. A bell will be rung 29 times in memory of each person who died.
    A plaque presentation and lantern lighting is planned. Food and Refreshments will be provided free of charge.
    Event organizer Roscoe Clark has a Web site devoted to the vessel, which contains several video clips and photos of the ship, at
    Earlier in the day, an Edmund Fitzgerald open house will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. at the River Rouge Historical Museum, 10750 W. Jefferson Ave.
    This year, the service will be web cast free of charge for those viewers all across the US and Canada. Go to the official web site
    For more information and location call Roscoe Clark at (810) 519-2148.
    This is a special program held each year and is free of charge.

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