When Wixom Lake drained after the collapse of the Edenville Dam back in the summer of 2020, it exposed the 'Loch Ness Monster of Wixom Lake', and now the monster has  a new home.

The 'monster', who would show off a shadowy arm every time the lake got low, was in reality a steam shovel left behind by the crews who constructed the dam way back in 1925.

Attempts by the land owner near the old shovel to remove the antique failed several times, mainly because the mud of the man made lake was so deep. But when the flood exposed the team shovel, it became easier to move.

According to Michigan.gov, the family wanting to retrieve the shovel needed a special permit, which was recently granted, allowing the shovel to finally be taken out of the mud.

"The steam shovel became stuck in the mud in 1925 as the reservoir was being finished," (Mike) Oberloier said. "The guys operating it left it there, went off to hunt and when they returned, the water had risen enough to cover the steam shovel."

When Oberloier's father found out about the sunken machine, he obtained ownership in 1975, but eventually lost interest in getting it to dry land.

"It was the Loch Ness Monster of Wixom Lake," Oberloier said. "Everyone knew it was there and could see it as the water levels fell. But no one ever saw it lately."

The shovel is a Thew Type O Automatic Steam shovel, a relic of days gone by.

For now, the steam shovel is housed at the Midland Antique Engine Association on Meridian Road in Merrill, where it's been power washed of decades of mud and zebra mussels. The quest to unearth the Thew even has its own Facebook page: Wixom Lake Steam Shovel, which has followers worldwide.

There, you can follow Mike's restoration process, as he attempts to restore the steam shovel to its original appearance.


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