FOUND IN LAKE WINNIPESAUKEE, NH ON AUGUST 23, 2004
Underwater pictures taken by
Tom Wachsmuth and Bill Ryan.
In the late 1950’s or early 1960’s, I heard a story about a car that had gone through the ice in the 1930’s or 1940’s just off of Haley Point in the Northeast corner of Lake Winnipesaukee. As kids, we used to snorkel out there a lot but never saw a sunken car. I knew a fellow who had SCUBA dived to find the car in the early sixties, but he didn’t find it.
After graduating from college, I continued to spend part of every summer in Melvin Village. I thought about the car every summer. I finally decided to become a certified SCUBA diver in 1980 so that I could rent diving equipment from the dive shop in Wolfeboro so I could dive to find the car. I became a certified SCUBA diver in May 1981 but did not actually dive to try and find the car until 1991. We were unsuccessful.
In 2002, I began talking to people in Melvin Village who I thought might have some knowledge of the car. I found out that a man had drowned when the car went through the ice and was able to locate his grave. I obtained the man’s date of death and went to the Wolfeboro Library and looked at their microfilm copies of The Granite State News. I found an article about the drowning on the front page of the March 5, 1937 issue. This confirmed to me that the car had, indeed, gone through the ice on February 26, 1937. A woman passenger in the car was saved. The man’s body was recovered about 20 feet from the car by a hardhat diver the following day. The newspaper article said that the car was in 35 feet of water.
In 2003, again searching for information to help pinpoint the location of the car, I located and spoke to an eye-witness to the accident. After 66 years, she was unable to remember details of the accident.
In 2004, I finally decided to simply do some more diving to locate the car. I found the car on August 23, 2004. It is upright and sitting, slightly tilted front end down, in about 25 feet of water. The car still has some structure remaining but all of the interior has rusted out. The two front headlights and radiator are in place.
The car is a 2-door Oldsmobile as identified by the radiator medallion with a winged-spur design and hubcaps. It has a 6 cylinder engine and spoke wheels.
I've been in contact with a product expert at General Motors Media Archive. He reviewed the pictures of the car and believes that it is a 1930 model, (or possibly a late 1929). He confirmed that the "winged spur" design on the radiator medallion was used by Oldsmobile from 1929 to 1948. The car had only 1 rear tail light. Two rear tail lights were an option until 1932 when 2 tail lights became standard equipment.
The car in the lake has been identified as a 1930 (or a late 1929) Oldsmobile. The following picture is a restored 1929 Oldsmobile.
The following car fell through the ice on February 26, 1937. It is in about 25 feet of water. A man and a woman were in the car. The woman was saved but the man drowned. His body was retrieved by a hardhat diver the following day.
Diver Down overlooking the rear of the car.
The front of the car.
Left Headlight From Behind
Distributor Showing 6 Sparkplug Wires
Left Side Of Engine Compartment
Top of front windshield support with steering wheel sitting on it where I put it
Looking forward through the front windshield. Glass is there but has fallen down and cannot be seen. Note the rear view mirror in the middle of the picture.
The inside of the left side of the car. Note that the front window is up and the back window is half way down.
Steering column (with square top) laying on the floor where it fell. I found the steering wheel at the end of the steering column.
The item with the circles in it is the dashboard plate that surrounded the speedometer and other gauges. There are 2 smaller holes on each side of the large (speedometer) hole for a total of 5 holes. This plate was found directly under where the dashboard was.
Left, front wheel with air valve.
Right rear tire and rear of car.
Spare tire on trunk of car.
Oldsmobile Radiator Medallion - Used From 1929-1948.
Hubcap (Really just a grease cap)