Dozens of ships were on Lake Superior making the season's last run when the storm hit. The stories from that night are harrowing -- stories of crew members freezing to death, and others who survived by dancing around bathtubs set ablaze.
The disaster was so extreme that, in its wake, Congress appropriated money for the now-famous Split Rock Lighthouse on Lake Superior.
Curt Brown tells the story in a new book, "So Terrible a Storm: A Tale of Fury on Lake Superior." Brown is a reporter at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where he has worked for 20 years.
Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer talked with Brown, who says the story first caught his attention when he was on a family trip up north.