Not only are the beaches of Lake Coeur d’Alene and other North Idaho lakes and rivers a wonderful place to spend the summer months, but many of the Northwest’s waterways have fascinating stories to tell below the surface as well! Here’s a taste of some of the sunken ships and artifacts that have been discovered at the bottom of Lake Michigan:
Ships that have sunk:
Many ships that have sunk in Lake Coeur d’Alene over the course of the last 200 years can be found at the lake’s bottom. Many boats have made their way to the lake’s bottom as a result of the logging industry, steamer ships, and tourists that visit the lake on old-fashioned paddleboats, among other factors. Locals used to dismantle steamer ships for their valuable parts and use them as floating bases for the annual Fourth of July fireworks display off Independence Point in downtown Coeur d’Alene. A fire was started in the middle of the night and the boats were burned to the ground. Now, scuba divers may enjoy exploring the underwater boat park.
Naval equipment consists of the following:
Locals are aware with the U.S. Naval testing base on Lake Pend Oreille, which is located near Spokane. Because the waters surrounding Bayview are so deep, the Navy can train on and test submarines, as well as other types of deep water equipment, in the Idaho lake. However, the base has been associated with a number of sunken items, including an unarmed Navy torpedo that is believed to have sunk 50 years ago beneath 1,200 feet of water and a massive Navy barge that sank more than 1,000 feet below the surface in the 1970s, containing more than $1 million in equipment. Because the artifacts lie so far below the surface of the water, it is unlikely that they will ever be dredged to the surface.
Divers in the more shallow waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene and Lake Pend Oreille can sift through the sediment for a variety of treasures on the lake bottom. Auto keys, sunglasses, timepieces, and other goods that have floated off boats or been dropped off docks and sank to the bottom may be among the items found on the seafloor. Even golf balls, which have been launched from the Floating Green, are not uncommon sightings. Some divers, on the other hand, have discovered some unusual artifacts. One diver informed the Spokesman Review that he discovered 25 Watling slot machines at the bottom of the lake, which he then hauled up to the surface. The diver speculated that the machines were tossed off a barge in the 1950s, when gambling was considered banned in the country at the time.
So, whether you’re treasure hunting, scuba diving in the lake, or just floating around on the water, think about all the bizarre artifacts that have sunk over the past two centuries and how you might come across them.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve come across when visiting Lake Coeur d’Alene or Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho? Do you have a favorite scuba diving place that you frequent? Please let us know!