Is Maine’s Moosehead Lake Pretty Much a Graveyard of Sunken Steamboats?
Almost 200 years ago, boats did everything.
Way back in the day, once upon a time, etc., just about everything everywhere was handled with boats, that couldn't be done by train or wagon. Imagine an area like the Great Lakes... There was a time in history when the only way to trade across the lakes region was to do everything by boat. To this day, that area has massive shipping lanes.
These days, sinking boats to get rid of them would obviously never fly due to environmental concerns, but 100 years ago? Psshhhh.
Lakes were part of the arteries of shipping. It was no different here in Maine. The logging industry depended so much on Moosehead Lake as part of all the log drives from up North, right up until the last drive in 1975. But before there were roads to the Moosehead region, most shipping and tourism was handled by steamboats.
Steamboats were the way.
There was a time that the Moosehead region was as important to the sporting and the ritzy, as any place nearer the coast. The chief transport for over a hundred years were steamboats. Trains would bring people to various stops around the Lake, and the steamboats would take them wherever. At one time up to 50 steamboats cruised the mighty Moosehead. So what happened to all those boats?
According to the BBC, as the boats became obsolete and too expensive to maintain, a lot of owners chose to simply sink them. These days, sinking boats to get rid of them would obviously never fly due to environmental concerns, but 100 years ago? Psshhhh. Some were sold, at least one wrecked, many were sunk.
How many are down there?
People have begun diving in the lake and documenting the process, and so far 9 steamboats have been verified. There's even a documentary about it that looks absolutely fascinating, even at 2am when I couldn't sleep, haha. There could be more, it'll just take time to find them all.
These days, the Steamboat Katahdin, or "Kate" as the locals call her, still brings people on tours of the lake, and has been since 1915. So taking a ride on the Kate could probably bring you back to those days, even just for a minute. But it's creepy to think of all those broken down old boats on the bottom of Moosehead Lake.
Here's some great photos from aboard the Steamboat Katahdin, cruising Moosehead for the last 125 years...
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