Sunken motor boat listed on National Register of Historic Places
The U.S. Department of the Interior has listed the lake’s first-ever gasoline-powered motorboat on the National Register of Historic Places, making it part of an underwater state park called “Submerged Heritage Preserves” that includes boats from the French and Indian War.
The 45-foot long Forward, built in 1906, was owned by W.K. Bixby of Bolton Landing and St. Louis, a noted early 20th century industrialist.
“There are 80,000 properties on the National Register, only 300 shipwrecks,” said Wilton’s Joseph Zarzynski, an underwater archaeologist and founder of Bateaux Below, a not-for-profit group that nominated the Forward for the National Register.
“It’s very rare to find something from the 20th century on the register,” Zarzynski said. “It took 20 years to get this done. It’s sort of like creating a fine wine. We had to wait a little extra time.”
Divers first rediscovered it during the 1970s and Bateaux Below members relocated it in 1989, mapped the site and began trying to get it on the National Register.
Today, the boat rests in about 40 feet of 55- to 60-degree water about four miles north of the lake’s south end and 1,500 feet east of Diamond Island.
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