Marker 268: Wisconsin's Maritime Industries

© Photographed July 7, 2012
Erected 1982 by Wisconsin Historical Society
Denmark, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin
44° 19.35′ N, 87° 48.921′ W

Since about 1840, the lakeshore area from Manitowoc to Sturgeon Bay has been a center for shipping, fishing, and shipbuilding on the upper Great Lakes. Early shipping was characterized by sail and steam vessels docking at small private piers extending into the lake. In the 1860s, lakeshore communities improved their har­bors so that ships could dock farther inland. Completion of the Sturgeon Bay Canal in 1880 greatly shortened the Lake Michigan-Green Bay passage. Manitowoc and Kewaunee became car ferry terminals in the 1890s and remain so today.

As shipping increased, certain port cities developed shipbuilding industries. Manitowoc was the leading builder of wooden ships on the western shore of Lake Michigan in the late 1880s and still produces small craft. Sturgeon Bay began in the 1890s and is now the largest shipbuilding center on the Great Lakes.

Commercial fishing began at Two Rivers in the 1850s and later in Kewaunee and Algoma. These ports still have fleets actively engaged in commercial fishing--one of the maritime indus­tries that help to sustain Wisconsin's economy.
The marker is located at Rest Area 52 at milepost 168 on northbound Wisconsin Highway 43, Denmark, Wisconsin 54206.

 The marker is to the right of the entrance to the rest area building.

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