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Northern Michigan In Focus: Edmund Fitzgerald Snow Sculpture

The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald is one that everyone talks about and pays tribute to including one Big Rapids woman who paid a very big tribute.

The Edmund Fitzgerald was a 729-foot freighter. When it was sailing, it was the pride of the lakes, being the biggest and fastest freighter to make its runs.

It suddenly vanished from radar on the night of Nov. 10, 1975.

Twenty-nine men lost their lives that night, and since then it has become part of the American story.

“I was in 10th grade and that’s when the Fitzgerald sank and I just poured over the newspapers that came in and I was just fascinated by all the graphics and all the accounts of what were happening,” said Fran Kantar of Big Rapids. We’ve always taken our kids up to Whitefish Point and some of our best memories are up at Whitefish Point with our family. We’ve always been fascinated by the Great Lakes nd so when we got a lot of snow I decided I needed a project.”

So what was Kantar’s project?

“I built a model of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” she said. “It’s not the scale but I looked up drawings and diagrams and so I put in some details as best I could.”

Kantar put in four days and more than 20 hours on an Edmund Fitzgerald snow sculpture that is nearly 40 feet long.

“My husband was surprised because I told him I was going out to make a snow sculpture of the Edmund Fitzgerald and he came out later and said I thought is going to be about three-feet long. We took out a tape measure and it was 40 feet,” Kantar said. “There’s, off course the cargo holds, which is in the middle, an important part of it. I tried to get the pilot house and the port holes in the windows. And the lifeboats on the stern on the stern and I wanted the name of the Fitzgerald.”

If you want to see the sculpture in person, you can visit at the address below. Kantar asks that you enjoy the sculpture from your car, and if you do get outside, don’t touch it as it is fragile.

“They are welcome to look at it and I hope it’s a springboard for people to learn about it and maybe plan a trip up to Whitefish Point this summer,” she said.

18970 Winding Brook Road
Big Rapids, MI 49307

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