WW II Shipwreck Discovered Fully Intact is Part of Washington’s History
Few people know the history of Lake Union in Seattle. Initially, the lake was unspoiled, surrounded by trees and wildlife. Then, as years passed and Seattle grew, it transformed into an industrial and maritime mecca for the timber and fishing industry. Today, the lake is surrounded by office buildings, restaurants, houseboats, and seaplanes, and it was the site of the famous movie, “Sleepless in Seattle”. During the warmer months, the lake is covered with recreational activities – boating, swimming, paddle boarding, etc. Most people are completely unaware of what sits just below the surface.
The bottom of Lake Union is a graveyard (some would call it a junkyard) of old boats on top of old boats. As one Seattle historian put it, “Lake Union became a convenient place for people to get rid of things from the beginning, and that includes boats.”
Old shipwrecks and other junk cover the bottom of Lake Union
The Gypsy Queen, a 136-foot WW II Minesweeper is one of the most unique wrecks lying below the surface of Lake Union. The wooden boat’s wartime name was the YMS-105 and it served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters sweeping mines for military fleets. (Photo below from the 1940s while in service).
In 1958, the boat was sold to a private owner who planned to transform it for use in the fishing industry but before that could happen it mysteriously sank in Lake Union and was forgotten about until it was discovered by divers over 50 years later. It sits upright fully intact and is in surprisingly good shape.
The Gypsy Queen is just one of hundreds of boats on Lake Union's bottom. It makes one wonder, if the lake was drained, what would the landscape look like? The YouTube channel CWB – Center for Wooden Boats produced a great video showcasing the lake’s history and some of the stories behind the ships that rest in the mud on the bottom.
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Gallery Credit: Paul Drake