The 145-foot ship had an interesting and eventful career before it sprung a leak out on the big lake in October of 1905 and was permanently retired here. In a day when 500-foot steel freighters were entering service, SHAMROCK just wasn’t worth repairing one more time.
The old ship was built in 1875 as a three-masted towbarge. It was meant to carry lumber, towed by a “steambarge” or “lumber hooker”. The ship endured all kinds of accidents over the years and even spent one winter high and dry on Point Pelee in Lake Erie before it was rebuilt in 1904, given a steam engine, and made into a “hooker”. The ship could carry nearly a million board feet (400 tons) of lumber.
Unfortunately, the SHAMROCK lasted only a year in its new role as a steamer. The 30-year-old wooden hull developed serious leaks out on Lake Huron in June of 1905 and barely made the docks at Black River before sinking there in shallow water. The ship was raised and brought to Alpena, but was just pulled into shallow water there and abandoned. Later in the year, the owner stripped all of the rigging and machinery from the wreck and left it to rot.