Harriet B ROV Survey Project 2017
July 3 - 4, 2017
This Survey Project is ongoing until the nomination to the national register has been completed and submitted to the Board of Directors at the Minnesota Historical Society in St Paul MN.
Harriet B In The Day
Harriet B Capstan Taken from Drop Cameras at 600 feet Deep.
Harriet B Remains of a Toilet that fell out of the Cabin
The Harriet B was discovered by shipwreck hunters in 2008 and had a potential to be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. In this process the GLSPS needed funds to accomplish it's goals and ideals to finally place the Harriet B on the National Register.
In March 2017 the GLSPS applied for another Legacy Grant to complete the deep water shipwreck survey to finally have enough information and photos to move forward on the nomination. This is another opportunity for members to join us to see and hopefully learn more bout the process.
If you have any interest in joining us to learn more about the documentation for nominating a shipwreck, please register for the project or contact any of the GLSPS staff below. Or, click on the link to read more about the project on the event page. Harriet B ROV Survey
We are always looking for new faces so if you are interested please contact us!!
Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society
Board of Directors
Harriet B National Register Nomination Fieldwork Update
by Ken Merryman
The GLSPS received a grant from Minnesota Historical Society to complete the fieldwork and write the National Register Nomination for the shipwreck Harriet B located three miles out of Two Harbors, MN. It is Minnesota’s most intact shipwreck, but unfortunately for those of us who are divers, it sits in 650 feet of water. Documenting the Harriet B shipwreck site necessitated utilizing a new generation of technology for our National Register work. When we started the project two years ago we used Jerry Eliason’s tethered drop camera and covered the whole site from a 45 degree down-looking view which allowed us to create a fairly detailed site model based on the video. However, our Wisconsin underwater archaeologist partners have raised the bar when it comes to documenting shipwrecks for the National Register of Historic Places. They have been generating accurate detailed site maps for many of the Wisconsin shipwreck sites and using the National Register Listing as the repository for both the detailed history and the accurate wreck site information. This seems like a great way to guarantee the longevity and public access to the results of the research.
To get the similar accuracy in measurements and drawings for a shipwreck in 650 feet of water we contracted Tom Crossmon of Crossmon Consulting to record the site using his ROV video and multi-beam sonar which is attached to the ROV. We wanted to get a view of the cabin interiors through the open doors and windows of the ship. Analyzing the sonar output using the companion software archeologists Tamara Thomsen and Caitlin Zant will be able to determined very precise dimensions of any part of the site covered by the multi-beam sonar. The video will provide additional details that a tethered camera cannot access. Compared to the National Register Nominations written in the 1980’s and 1990’s this generation of nominations not only establishes the vessel’s eligibility as a historic place, but also catalogs valuable historical information about the vessel, the site, and its history.
The fieldwork took place the first week of July using the GLSPS Research Vessel Preservation. Project participants were Tim Pranke, captain, Jim Christianson and Dale Koziol, boat hands, Tamara Thomsen and Caitlin Zant, archaeologists, and Tom Crossmon and Dave Phillips, ROV operators. Although the project was entirely successful as the team managed to collect all of the required site information it was not without its hang-ups, a term I use quite literally. Late in the project as ROV operators Tom and Dave switched piloting responsibilities, the ROV got entangled in the three inch tow hawser hanging over the fantail. It took hours and many attempts to untangle the $100 thousand dollar piece of equipment but all proved unsuccessful. Eventually they had to brute force pull it up which did work but ended up damaging the fragile tether. While GLSPS walked away with a successful project Tom walked away with a bill for a new tether which was only partially offset by his payment for the project. Everyone acknowledged that it could have been much worse if he would have lost his ROV, the outcome that was only marginally avoided by the skill and persistence of the team. Researching shipwrecks with expensive equipment is always a high stakes game which is why the contract costs often seem excessively high but that is the reason they are high.
The Harriet B NRHP nomination is scheduled to be complete before the end of the year and should be available for submission to the state board in 2018. Depending on the backlog we might reasonably expect it to be accepted to the National Register by the end of next year.
Harriet B Survey Video by Tom Crossmon Consulting for the GLSPS
The 2017 Harriet B Survey Closing Report with Addendum of Results
By Kenneth Merryman
The Harriet B is the most intact wooden shipwreck in Minnesota waters and enough of the original structure remains to be a rare example of the early wooden railroad car ferries that were used on the Great Lakes in the late 1800’s. It is also an example of adaptive reuse that was common on Great Lakes Carriers.
The Harriet B site was initially documented by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society with a drop camera and high-definition underwater video during the summer of 2015. The site was determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places by a decision of the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office in the spring of 2016. In the summer of 2017 a three day survey was conducted using a SEAMOR Marine Chinook ROV (remotely operated vehicle) owned by Crossmon Consulting, LLC of Hermantown, Minnesota. Operating out of Two Harbors, Minnesota, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society's research vessel Preservation provided the platform for ROV launching. The ROV was outfitted with high-definition video and multi-beam sonar equipment. Additional descriptive information and diagnostic measurements of the ship's features were collected. Sonar data was analyzed through BlueView software allowing for precise measurement of features more than 650 below the surface. GLSPS thanks the group of members and contractors that did a successful survey on Minnesota’s deepest shipwreck. Members of the team included archaeologists Tamara Thomsen, Caitlyn Zant, ROV operators Tom Crossmon and Dave Phillips, GLSPS captain and crew Tim Pranke and Jim Christianson.
Data processing and archaeological analysis was conducted in the months following as well as additional historical research into the vessel's service history and its broader place in regional railroad car ferry, and converted bulk carrier trades. A National Register of Historic Places nomination form was submitted to the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office in December of 2017. Following edits and corrections, the nomination was presented to the State's Historic Preservation Review Board on March 20, 2018 where it passed unanimously.
With the unanimous vote of the State's Historic Preservation Review Board the Harriet B nomination was submitted to the National Register Review Board and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 9, 2018.
This is the first time detailed measurement data has been collected for a shipwreck nomination in Minnesota solely by remote sensing using this state of the art technology. Accurate measurements and video of the site were collected on Minnesota's deepest shipwreck. We are excited to foster the introduction of this technology to the Minnesota toolbox for documenting shipwrecks. We have been successful at evaluating and nominating shipwrecks to the National Register because we contract expert professionals with good track records for success.
This history, drawings, and photos of the site were included in the National Register Nomination. All research data will be on public record with the Keeper of the National Register. This documentation of course will be available to future generations. By involving local members of GLSPS in this work we instill a sense of stewardship and respect for these historic sites among local divers.