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Edmund Fitzgerald captured in 40-foot snow sculpture by Michigan artist

Fran Kantar has been fascinated with the Edmund Fitzgerald since it sank in 1975. She decided recently to sculpt it with snow in her front yard.

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — The most popular snow sculpture is probably a snowman, but a woman in Big Rapids, Michigan recently decided she wanted to take on a much bigger challenge, snow sculpting a 40-foot version of the Edmund Fitzgerald ship in her front yard.

"I've always been interested in the Great Lakes and fascinated by the Edmund Fitzgerald and the mystery behind its sinking," said Fran Kantar, who created the Fitzgerald sculpture. "It just seemed like a great project to make out of snow."

Credit: Getty Images
The Edmund Fitzgerald got caught in a fierce Lake Superior storm on Nov. 10, 1975. She sank, taking the lives of all 29 sailors on board.

The Edmund Fitzgerald is one of the most famous of all Great Lakes shipwrecks. On Nov. 10, 1975, she got caught in a fierce storm on Lake Superior and sank, taking the lives of all 29 sailors on board.

"I was in school when it happened and I'll never forget it," Fran said.

On Friday, Jan. 29, Fran gathered together what tools she thought she'd need and began shoveling snow piles that a plow left near her driveway.

"I kind of got the snow into some sort of shape," Fran said. "I used some posts with string on them to make sure it would be straight."

Credit: Fran Kantar
Fran says she spent 5 hours a day for 4 straight days to finish her 40-foot snow sculpture of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Fran says she spent five hours working on her Fitzgerald for four straight days.

"On one of the days, my husband Andy told me it was too dark and I needed to come inside," Fran joked.

Fran says the colder temperatures didn't allow for the snow to properly pack all that well so she added water, which helped.

"I used several different paint scrapers to get everything shaped properly," added Fran. "I then used a broom handle to make the port hole windows."

Fran says she'd reference several online images of the Fitzgerald as she sculpted.

"I really had fun when I got to carving down some of the details," Fran said. "That's when it really started to look like the Edmund Fitzgerald."

She added a stick as the bowsprit and even put the name on both sides of the bow and on the stern. When it was done, her sculpture was 40-feet long.

Credit: Fran Kantar
Fran says she used paint scrapers to carve and shape the ship properly. She also used a broom handle to make the port hole windows.

"I started making it as long as I thought it should be," Fran said. "It was a fun project for me and I'm happy with it."

"It'll be sad to see it sink into the ground, but for now, I'm really having fun sharing it with other people," Fran said.

Fran says many people have driven by her house to check out the sculpture. If you're interested in seeing it in person, the address is 18970 Winding Brook Rd., Big Rapids, MI.

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