Lost: 10/31/1891 Depth: 80

The Passaic was a 198′ propeller package freighter, built by Charles Bidwell of Buffalo, Ny. She was powered by a direct acting vertical steam engine, and was fitted with hogging arches to stiffen her spine. On October 31, 1891, she encountered a storm while in route to Tonawanda, Ny loaded with lumber and in tow of four barges. The crew were ordered to cut free the tow, but the damage was already done, as she was taking on water faster than the pumps could remove it. The Passaic struggled toward Dunkirk until the rising waters put out the fire in the boiler, leaving the aging ship defenseless against the raging seas. The crew of 15 survived.

Today the Passaic lies upright in 80′ of silt covered bottom. Salvors mistook her for the Dean Richmond, and blasted her to access her reported treasures (they were wrong, of course as the Dean was a twin screw). The firebox and boiler are intact and divers can swim into the firebox and out the top of the smoke stack. There is a four bladed propeller, a capstan and stem post at the stern. The port side hogging arch with huge beams lies on the lake bottom, having fallen away due to the blasting.

The mooring line is normally attached to the boiler at the stern. Visibility on this site varies from 15-50 ft . Bottom temps are in the 42-46 degree range, but it’s not uncommon for visibility to be good enough to view the wreck from above the thermocline. Bass, Burbot and the occasional mudpuppy call this wreck home.


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