Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve

Colonel Ellsworth

Depth: 70′ to 85′
Dimensions: 137′ x 26′ x12′
Cargo: None
Cause of Sinking: Collision w/ schooner Emily B. Maxwell
Built: 1861, Euclid, Ohio
Date Lost: September 2nd, 1896
Construction: Wooden Schooner
Propulsion: Sail, 3 masts, bark rigged
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Location: N45° 48.743′  W085° 01.056′


The Ellsworth was caught in a southwest gale and overnight rainstorm  resulting in a 4 AM collision with the Emily B. Maxwell.  The Ellsworth then sank bow first.  The crew escaped in the yawl to the Maxwell, which delivered them to Mackinaw City.  The Ellsworth had only recently returned to service after spending the previous winter ashore near Whitefish Point on Lake Superior.  Much of her equipment was salvaged, including her anchors and rigging.

Present Condition

Upright, port-side rail broken off and laying on the bottom, but large hatch openings and clear hold allow for a lengthy swim-through.  The bow is bent upwards, tipping the windlass (mooring point) slightly.  The wreck sits on a mast, sticking out to the starboard bow, not unlike the Minneapolis.  This location is often frequented by schools of whitefish and perch.

Mooring Buoy Status

Buoyed May 11, 2024.  A helix anchor was installed just off the starboard bow, forward of the downed mast.  It’s a short hop to the wreck from the new mooring.

Due to the distance from port, this is usually one of the first moorings removed each year.

Col. Ellsworth Photos

For an interactive 3D image by Ken Merryman, click  HERE

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  • Ellsworth hull
  • Ellsworth underdeck