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Ohio's Oldest Shipwreck Could Join the National Register of Historic Places

Anthony Wayne steamer
Wikimedia Commons
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The Anthony Wayne sank in 1850, but it location was publicly revealed only about 10 years ago.

Ohio’s oldest shipwreck could be joining the National Register of Historic Places. Recommended by the state’s historic preservation board this month, the Anthony Wayne would be the first shipwreck in Ohio waters to receive the designation.

In 1850, the Anthony Wayne, a steamer, sank after an explosion, killing all of its passengers. The ship sank about seven miles northwest of Vermillion, west of Cleveland.

The ship was discovered, but kept secret by divers who believed there was gold on board. It was publicly discovered by the Cleveland Underwater Explorers just 10 years ago.

Chris Gillcrist, executive director of the National Museum of the Great Lakes, says the historic place label is a reminder of Ohio’s place in the country’s maritime history.

“The Great Lakes were the super highway of the 19th century for moving people and product across the United States," Gillcrist says. "This boat was part of that culture, part of that business model.”

The Department of the Interior now has 90 days to agree or disagree with the distinction before it can be added to the National Register.