America’s nascent automobile trade was the backbone of industry by the 1920s. Cars were being delivered from Detroit to points across the nation as the road system grew, making it easier for consumers to enjoy cars and for manufacturers to deliver them to dealers. But geography and road limitations made it necessary for manufacturers to use ships to deliver new cars to dealers in northern states like Minnesota and Wisconsin. And there lies the story of the City of Bangor, a ship loaded with brand new Chryslers that crashed into a reef on Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in November 1926. More than 220 cars were stuck on the ship as it sat under inches of ice and snow for countless days, even after the crew was rescued.
The story of the City of Bangor, one of at least 6,000 shipwrecks recorded on the Great Lakes, was largely unknown until journalist and author Larry Jorgensen visited his old stomping grounds from his days in the news business. He discovered that the story of the City of Bangor was largely undiscovered. He researched it and found amazing photographs and wrote Shipwrecked and Rescued: Cars and Crew, a book recounting the ill-fated final voyage of the City of Bangor, its crew and cargo, and what happened to both. Here’s my conversation with Larry on the Type. Tune. Tint. podcast.