Steamship Sank In Lake Michigan Killing 300


The Greatest Marine Horrors On Record


Accident type: Collision
Vessels involved: PS Lady Elgin and schooner Augusta
Location: Lake Michigan
Date: September 8, 1860
Casualties: About 300 lives


Name: PS Lady Elgin
Built: 1851
Class & type: Sidewheel steamer – passengers and package freight
Tonnage: 1037.70 gross
Length: 252 ft (77 m)
Beam: 32.66 ft (9.95 m)
Height: 13 ft (4.0 m)

The PS Lady Elgin was a wooden-hulled sidewheel steamship that sank in Lake Michigan off Highwood, Illinois after she was rammed in a gale by the schooner Augusta in the early hours of September 8, 1860.  The passenger manifest was lost with the collision, but the sinking of the Lady Elgin resulted in the loss of about 300 lives in what was called “one of the greatest marine horrors on record.”  Four years after the disaster, a new rule required sailing vessels to carry running lights.  The Lady Elgin disaster remains the greatest loss of life on open water in the history of the Great Lakes.

Source: Wikipedia