The Atlanta sank on May 4, 1891. It was upbound with a load of coal in tow of the steamer Wilhelm when both vessels got caught in a northwest gale. The storm was too much for the towline which snapped, and with no sails, the Atlanta was soon at the mercy of the lake, and the crew took to the lifeboat. They pulled at the oars for several hours and eventually came within site of the Crisp Point Life-Saving Station. While attempting to land their small boat near the station, it overturned and only two of the crew made it safely to the beach.
Because of its time in the frigid depths of Lake Superior, the Atlanta is a wonderfully preserved shipwreck. “It is rare that we find a shipwreck that so clearly announces what it is and the name-board of the Atlanta really stands out,” said Bruce Lynn, Executive Director of the GLSHS. “It is truly ornate, and still beautiful after 130 years on the bottom of Lake Superior.”
Director of Marine Operations, Darryl Ertel for the GLSHS said. “No one has to ask where the Atlanta is anymore.” The survivors said all three masts broke off during the storm, and video from an ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) proves, all three masts broke off flush with the deck and are nowhere to be found.