5-Year-Old Girl Finds 152-Year-Old Shipwreck on Fishing Trip in Lake Michigan

For 5-year-old Henley Wollack, nothing beats going for a swim near Lake Michigan's Green Island. On a recent fishing trip, her love for that spot made her and her dad, Tim, part of history. After she spotted what she thought was an octopus, her father remembered that many ships were lost to the lake over the centuries. Upon closer inspection, Wollack realized that the gray lines under the surface looked like the hull of a ship. He then took some pictures of the sights and shared them on social media, eventually reaching the Wisconsin Historical Society. Now, it has been announced that they did actually find something huge—a long-lost 150-year-old shipwreck.

“At first when we saw it in the boat, I thought it was cool to see something like that,” Wollak told USA Today. “At that time I didn’t know the magnitude of what it was.” Following an investigation with Video Ray ROV, researchers believe that the mysterious shipwreck is the George L. Newman, a vessel that was built in 1855, and sunk in October 1871. According to historical records, the George L. Newman was more than 40 yards long and 9 yards wide.

The ship also has a connection to the Peshtigo Fire, the deadliest forest fire in American history. The George L. Newman ship was sailing blind through thick smoke while they transported lumber from Little Suamico, Wisconsin. The visibility was so low that the lighthouse keeper, Samuel Drew, left the light on during the daylight hours; however, that was still not enough to prevent the catastrophe. Drew was able to rescue the crew, who salvaged what they could and stayed at the lighthouse for a week. The vessel became covered with sand with the passage of time and was forgotten for several years.

Now, this piece of history has been located and remembered, and all thanks to a little girl and her dad on an outing they both made compromises for. Little Henley wanted to swim and her father wanted to go fishing, so they reached a compromise—Wollack said he would take her to where she wanted to swim, but he would drive their motorboat “real slow” to look for any fish. “She ultimately put us in that location because that’s where she wanted to swim,” Wollak admits. As amazing as it is for the dotting dad, he can't help butwonder what it'll mean for his daughter. “She has such a love for the outdoors,” he says. “I think as she gets older the magnitude of this will sink in for her.” If anything, exploring the waters of Lake Michigan will forever remind them of something special.

5-year-old Henley Wollack and her dad, Tim, were crossing Lake Michigan on a motorboat when something caught her eye.

The Wisconsin Historical Society announced that they had actually found something big—a long-lost 150-year-old shipwreck known as the the George L. Newman.

h/t: [USA Today]

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Regina Sienra

Regina Sienra is a Staff Writer at My Modern Met. Based in Mexico City, Mexico, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications with specialization in Journalism from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has 10+ years’ experience in Digital Media, writing for outlets in both English and Spanish. Her love for the creative arts—especially music and film—drives her forward every day.
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