The waters that surround Stony Island in the Detroit River hold a handful of wrecked and sunken ships and facts, it's widely called “The Detroit River's Boat Graveyard.”

And the name fits.

The land where Stony Island sits was used by the Potawatomi tribe for hunting and fishing going back a few hundred years . For a while the island became home to a small settlement as well as a handy location for construction workers on the Livingstone Channel.

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Beginning in the 1920s, it was used for dredging and excavation operations until it ceased, causing the island worker-residents to leave and find work elsewhere. Their former homes were all torn down, and some remains can still be seen underwater. The only person who stayed on the island was caretaker Jack Mather and his two dogs, Bruiser and Sweetheart. He left the island in 1987.

So what about the boat graveyard? Why were all these ships and boats brought here to rot? Like dying elephants that safari to the elephant graveyard, it seems these boats do the same – with help from humans, of course. The tradition of hauling dying boats here is believed to have been started by the dredging company, Dunbar & Sullivan, in the 1990s. There are approximately 20-25 wrecks and abandoned boats, under and over the water.

The gallery below shows many of these dead, abandoned, and sunken ships in Detroit's “boat graveyard.”

Detroit River Boat Graveyard


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Old Michigan Shipwrecks, Early 1900s

Abandoned Atomic Bomb & Boat Factory, Saginaw


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