Barge (Wreck GGG)

Wreck GGG was located in the 2001 Lake Survey, and verified by archaeological divers in October 2002. The wreck is a small wooden scow barge carrying a load of bricks. During the 2002 verification visibility was approximately 3ft (.91m), therefore neither photographs nor video of the wreck were taken; however, researchers were able to measure the overall structure of the vessel.

Sonar image showing Wreck GGG.

The Brick Barge is 25ft 2in (7.7m) long, with a beam of 8ft 2in (2.5m). The vessel’s hull is rectangular with raking scow ends. The barge’s sides are reinforced with four vertical futtocks. The wreck’s most unusual feature is a pair of arched longitudinal trusses, one on each side. These trusses are fastened to the outboard side of the vertical futtocks along the vessel’s length and to each of the scow ends. This type of arched truss was common on Lake Champlain’s nineteenth century small cross-lake ferries; however, this was the first time it has been noted on a barge. A large ringbolt in the bow was used to secure a towline.

The barge is fully loaded with a cargo of bricks, indicating that its sinking was not intentional. The bricks are still neatly stacked inside the hull. Each brick is positioned on its side, with at least six layers of bricks filling the hull. At each end of the barge the layer of bricks is shorter than the one below. This gives the layers of bricks a stepped appearance at each end. Several bricks were examined during the verification, and none had maker’s marks.

Wreck GGG is located in Malletts Bay, an area well known for its brick manufacturing history. It is likely that the barge was being towed from a local brickyard to a building site when it was lost. There are no definitive features on the wreck indicating its age; however, its general build is suggestive of mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century construction.

Preliminary plan view and profile of Wreck GGG. Drawn by Adam Kane.

Significance: Wreck GGG is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion D: Information Potential. Although this type of small wooden barge was a certainly a common vessel type on Lake Champlain during the nineteenth century, there are very few known examples and none have been studied in detail. Further study of this site is likely to yield information on the construction of a vernacular vessel type which was used in the local transportation of bulk materials. The site also has the potential to add to the understanding of Vermont’s brick making industry.