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Why is a life-sized statue of Christ resting at the bottom of Lake Michigan?

Statue of Christ at the bottom of Lake Michigan Credit:

Statue of Christ at the bottom of Lake Michigan Credit:

On top of Corcovado Mountain, overlooking Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, there is a 30-meter high statue of Jesus. Called Christ the Redeemer, the 635 metric ton statue was installed on the mountain in October, 1936 and has become a cultural landmark for Brazil.

And at the bottom of Lake Michigan, the second largest of the Great Lakes that straddle the Canadian-American border, there is a life-sized statue of Jesus on the cross, sitting 21 feet beneath the surface of the water.

It is located about 800 feet out in the middle of Little Traverse Bay, just off shore from the town of Petoskey. The marble statue is 11 feet high and weighs 1,850 pounds. The sculpture of Christ is 5’5″ tall.

Though it is nowhere near the size of Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer, when the conditions are right, it draws hundreds of people.

People are only able to view the statue when Lake Michigan freezes over thick enough to walk on, as it did this year. When the conditions are right, town’s people cut a hole in the ice, set up a tent and lower down lights, allowing people to view the statue.  The last time people were able to see the statue was in 2005.

So how did the statue end up at the bottom of Lake Michigan?

The family of Gerald Schipinski, 15, who died in a farm accident in 1956 near Rapson, Michigan had the statue constructed in Italy to memorialize their son’s death. But when the statue was damaged in transit, the family requested a new one.

The Wyandotte dive club purchased the statue through an insurance sale to commemorate a fellow diver who died during a diving accident on Torch Lake. The crucifix was placed at the bottom of the bay in 1962.



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