Edmund Fitzgerald replica

It’s been 43 years since the Edmund Fitzgerald sank into the icy waters of Lake Superior, killing the crew of 29.

It is one of the most famous shipwrecks in history.

As Michigan families remember the tragedy, one local man is honoring the skip and its crew by using his tooling skills.

“When she went into the water and was launched, oh there was all kinds of noises and cheering and horns. Oh it was absolutely wonderful,” said Cookie Clement, Mid-Michigan resident.

Cookie said she will never forget the day the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald launched. She said she was just 14-years-old at the time, but remembers it quite vividly.

“Exciting. We were standing on the dry dock and I was with my grandfather and uncle. And we’re going, ‘oh look at it go!’ And there was a big splash. It was wonderful. I had never seen anything like that. So it was awesome,” Cookie said.

On Nov. 10, 1975, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank during a Lake Superior storm, killing the entire crew of 29.

Cookie said it’s a sad anniversary, but her husband Nick Clement offered to build her a special tribute. So he handcrafted a 39-inch long, to-scale replica.

“It’s all wood, handmade. Everything is handmade on the ship itself,” Nick said.

Nick is a retired tool and die maker. So for him, casting the molds and placing the pieces comes naturally.

Nick said it took an entire four months to handcraft the Edmund Fitzgerald replica. It goes perfectly with his one-of-a-kind handcrafted village.

It took Nick about 25 years to build his basement village, but it’s something he and his wife both enjoy.

“It was great. It was great building it all. I loved it,” Nick said.

“It is very, very special. Because now I can come down and look at this and reminisce and think about that day that it was launched,” Cookie said.

Copyright 2018 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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