The Edmund Fitzgerald left Superior on Nov. 9, 1975, with a load of taconite, bound for Detroit; it got caught in a massive storm out on Lake Superior. Its last radio contact was with the freighter Arthur M. Anderson on the evening of Nov. 10; soon after the Fitzgerald disappeared from radar near the entrance to Whitefish Bay at the eastern end of the lake.
The Fitzgerald’s 29 crew members, including several from and with families in the Northland, were lost in the wreck.
Split Rock Lighthouse on the North Shore, northeast of Two Harbors will host its annual beacon lighting and memorial service for the victims of the Fitzgerald, and all Great Lakes wrecks, this afternoon. Lighthouse staff will toll a bell 29 times, in honor of each man who lost his life on the Fitzgerald, and then toll the bell a 30th time for all lost mariners. After that, the lighthouse’s beacon will be lit. It’s the only time each year when visitors can climb to the top of the tower while the beacon is lit and revolving.
The lighthouse will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today; the memorial service is at 4:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and college students; $6 for ages 5-17 and free for ages 4 and younger, and for Minnesota Historical Society members. Find more information here.