Lake Superior Shipwrecks
Statement of Significance

The Niagara is an early example of a class of large "outside" tug boats developed for use on the Great Lakes. The development of these large tugs can be largely attributed to the demands of the expanding timber industry and their need to move large timber rafts. Examples of this property type are historically significant as representatives of their respective vessel types, as well as sources of information on shipbuilding technology, marine engineering, maritime activity and shipboard culture. In particular, rafting tugs like the Niagara made an important contribution to the development of the Great Lakes logging industry. Only two remaining examples of rafting tugs, the Niagara (1872) off Knife River and the Bob Anderson (1862) near Grand Marais, Minn., are known to exist in the region. No floating examples are extant.

Port profile view in Boutell colors, ca. 1890s; Institute for Great Lakes Research, Bowling Green State Univeristy

The tug Niagara retains integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association. The four large hull pieces clearly indicate that the Niagara was a large, sturdily built vessel. Her heavy keel, thick exterior hull, ceiling and deck planking gave her a strong, longitudinally stiff hull well-suited to hard use in the lumber trade on the Great Lakes. The sharp angles of the frames to the keel indicate that she had surprisingly fine lines for a working vessel of her size. One explanation for this fine shape is that as a tug, the Niagara needed a fine hull to allow maximum water flow to her single screw and rudder. In the absence of any known ship plans or construction diagrams of rafting tugs, preservation for future investigation is the only means available to record the design characteristics, architecture and unique configuration that made rafting tugs of such importance to the Great Lakes lumber industry.

|--Niagara-- |--Historic Description-- |--Construction and Career--|
|--Log Rafting and the Lake Superior Timber Industry-- |--Description of the Wreck Event--|
|--Post-Depositional Impacts-- |--Present Description-- |--Significance-- |--Photographs--|
|--Minnesota Lake Superior Shipwrecks-- |
|--Minnesota Historical Society Homepage--|