The discovery of the L.R. Doty, a 300 foot-long steamship, is a monumental event for Brendon Baillod, the president of the Wisconsin Underwater Archaeology Association. The 112 year old ship is the largest wooden boat unaccounted for and was carrying corn from South Chicago to Ontario, Canada in October 1898. The boat disappeared after 30 foot waves combined with heavy winds engulfed the entire ship.
The Doty should have been able to handle the weather. The ship was only five years old, and the 300-foot wooden behemoth's hull was reinforced with steel arches.Read more about the L.R. Doty shipwreck in Lake Michigan
But it was towing a small schooner, the Olive Jeanette, which began to founder in the storm after the tow line apparently snapped, Baillod said. The Doty probably sank when it came to the schooner's aid. All 17 of its crew members died, along with the ship's cats, Dewey and Watson.