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Lost on the Lady Elgin



 
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By Valerie Van Heest

Winner - 2011 INDIE Book Award for Non-Fiction History
Winner - 2011 Illinois State History Book Award
Finalist - 2011 Midwest Book Awards
One of the most interesting and historic military sites connected with Wisconsin is the September 8, 1860 wreck of the steamer Lady Elgin. Although she actually lies in Illinois waters, her role in Wisconsin history is both substantial and tragic. The May 1989 discovery of some of her remains off Highwood, Illinois by Chicago salvor Harry Zych has rekindled interest in the wreck and subsequent court battles over salvage rights have kept the Lady Elgin in the news periodically. In the spring of 1995 the Elgin's remains were placed on the National Register of Historic Places and her notoriety continues to grow.

The Lady Elgin held the dubious distinction of being the worst loss of life on the Great Lakes until the steamer Eastland rolled over at her Chicago dock in 1915 killing 835, and the Elgin still ranks as the second worst wreck in the history of the Lakes. With the increasing popularity of sport diving, the Elgin's remains have now become a popular underwater attraction and she is the subject of ongoing archeological investigation. 155pp. Hardcover, 2010.

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