J.D. Marshall Shipwreck and Nature Preserve
Built in 1891 by J.C. Perene at South Haven, Michigan, as an open hulled wooden steamer, the J.D. Marshall was initially used in the Great Lakes lumber trade business. Following the insurance settlement over the loss of the Muskegon in 1910, the Independent Sand and Gravel Company purchased the J.D. Marshall and had her refitted for the gravel business with many of the
salvaged items from the Muskegon. On June 9, 1911, the J.D. Marshall sprang a leak and sank, claiming four lives, about 300 yards from shore (Ellis, 1985).
Discovered by Gene Turner, local professional diver in 1979, the J.D. Marshall has had numerous features removed by wreck divers. The illegally recovered deck winch and rudder assembly were later donated to the Michigan City Lighthouse Museum. The Dake steam powered deck winch was given to the LaPorte County Steam Show. In 1982 the entire vessel was raised by salvors who removed the propeller (later confiscated by the State and currently housed in the Dunes State Park). The vessel was subsequently dropped at its current location in 30-35 feet of water, 3500 feet offshore of Dunes State Park Pavilion and Boat House (Ellis, 1985).
Results of IU recent site assessment indicate the inverted hull is in good condition with the stern post skag, keel, and exterior hull strakes still rising several feet above the surrounding sand beds. Evidence of the cutting for removal the propeller was noted on the remaining drive shaft. The Scotch Boiler remains intact with all features discernable that were documented by Ellis
in1985. Perhaps due to the documented missing bow, breaking of the keel, and subsequent flattening effect, the forward section of the hull has settled into the sand. Nevertheless much of the inverted hull and associated scatter debris remain exposed. Although Ellis survey indicated 116 feet of inverted hull section remains, the forward hull has settled into the lake bed, leaving approximately 85 feet of exposed hull (Illustration 2).
As with the Muskegon, Zebra mussels have attached to much of the J.D. Marshall iron components. However, most of the inverted wooden hull timbers are free of any significant Zebra mussel colony attachment. The inverted hull rises several feet above the surrounding sand and provides recreational divers with a view of turn of the century ship construction, as well as an interesting assortment of fishes that frequent the site.