Sunday, May 20, 2012

WHHS Program to feature G. P. Griffith Disaster

The Willoughby Hills Historical Society May Meeting is this Wednesday, May 23.  Noted author Jim Hopkins will be the keynote speaker that night.  His program will examine Lake Erie's worst boating disaster, the wreck of the G.P. Griffith.  The month;y meeting and program begin at 7pm.  The Willoughby Hills Community Center is located at 35400 Chardon Road.  For more information, please call 946-5557.

                                               The Wreck of the G.P. Griffith

 June 17, 1850 will always be remembered as Lake Erie's Day of Infamy.  On that day the wreck of the sidewheeler G.P. Griffith claimed the lives of 320 immigrants.  Approximately 40-87 passengers survived.  The immigrants had boarded the vessel in Buffalo and were bound for Sandusky.  Around 3am a fire started near the smoke stacks after the ship had departed Fairport Harbor.  By the time the steamer neared Willowick the flames were beyond control.  An attempt to ground the steamer left the vessel 600' off shore.  The immigrants, most of whom had coins and valuables sewn into their clothing jumped overboard.  Weighted down, they quickly sunk to their watery graves below.  News of the tragedy resonated throughout Cleveland and N.E. Ohio.  A mass grave was dug near East 305th Street in Willowick.  Sadly it was lost to erosion in the 1920's.  Local author Jim Hopkins will share his research and historical book on this fateful event this Wednesday.  The public is invited to attend

No comments:

Post a Comment