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Lake Ontario


Built in 1855 as an iron hulled sidewheeler; length 176 ft (53 m); depth 70 ft; scuttled and dynamited intentionally in late 1930's in one of Kingston's ship graveyards.

Overshadowed by its more photogenic sister Comet, Cornwall often does not get the attention she deserves. But she definitely deserves a long visit as one of the most storied wrecks in Lake Ontario. So interesting was her life that a whole book was written about it by local Kingston historians. It's called River Palace and is available from Amazon among other places.

Cornwall started her life named Kingston in 1855. She experienced several name and configuration changes in her career from a floating passenger palace in her early days as Kingston to a wrecking tug known as Cornwall. Every name change was a result of a major fire or other accident.

As a Kingston, she burned almost to the waterline in 1872 and was rebuilt and renamed Bavarian. She then burned again a year later and was rebuilt and renamed Algerian. She burned again in 1905 and upon that rebuilt she acquired her final name. She worked into late 1920's and then anguished at the dock for almost a decade before being towed to a ship's graveyard and dynamited. Despite the fact that she was scuttled, the paddlewheels survived as did major pieces of the wreck.

The most prominent features of this wreck are the paddlewheels. These are of different construction that Comet's - they are smaller and the paddles are set on an angle. The other interesting part of this wreck is that between the paddlewheels. Unlike Comet, whole boilers are still hidden under the deck planking, Conrwall's boilers are are wide open for everyone to see. Some part of the sides are still there as well, with several potholes with intact glass. The wreck then flattens towards the bow and stern.

2014 shots.

I had been diving this wreck for over a decade, so below are some of my old pictures of her going way back to early 2000's and the days of film cameras.

Spring of 2004 brought unbelievable visibility to the Kingston area. With viz reaching into 80 to 90 ft, I have spent two weeks in a row trying to capture as many images as possible - Cornwall was one of the wrecks that I visited during that time.

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Oct 2008 pics, taken in a much worse visibility but with newer camera equipment:

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