The Great Storm of 1913

Creator(s): Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol

The Deadliest Disaster in Great Lakes History

On November 6, 1913 blinding snow and hurricane-force winds began to howl over the Great Lakes, wreaking havoc that would last for days. The deadliest disaster in Great Lakes history would claim twelve vessels and nearly 250 lives before it was done.

Storms are the curse of the Great Lakes in November, but this one achieved lethal force when two major weather fronts collided over the relatively warm waters of the Great Lakes, unleashing winds of more than 90 mph (145 km/h) and monster waves more than 35 feet high. The Dominion Weather Observatory in Toronto ordered level four storm signals, the highest possible standing for a heavy gale, to fly at all 100 ports across the Great Lakes from Fort William (Thunder Bay) to Kingston. The warnings came in vain for many vessels, especially eight lake freighters who were battered and sunk by the ferocious storm, taking all hands with them.

This Community Stories exhibit uses actual artifacts recovered after the storm, other marine-related artifacts, models and photographs to tell the story of the Great Storm of 1913 in vivid detail.

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