Wisconsin's Maritime Trails: Historic Shipwreck: Schooner Lumberman

© Photographed March 20, 2015
Erected by Wisconsin Historical Society,
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant,
Wisconsin Coastal Management Program
Oak Creek, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
42° 52.03′ N, 87° 50.37′ W

Wisconsin's Maritime Trails
Historic Shipwreck
Schooner Lumberman

Type: Wooden schooner, three-masted
Built: 1862, Hilyne C. Litchfield, Blendon’s Landing, Mich.;
Rebuilt 1889
Sank: April 7, 1892
Length: 126’ Beam 23’
Cargo: Lumber, wood products
Depth: 60’
Four miles offshore from this spot, 60 feet beneath the surface of Lake Michigan, lies the well-preserved wreck of the Lumberman. For three decades, the three-masted wooden schooner hauled lumber, barrel staves, railroad ties, and other forest products from isolated towns on Lake Michigan to the hungry markets of Chicago.

On April 6, 1893, Captain Orin Vose was sailing northward for the first load of the season. It was his first trip in command of the Lumberman. Suddenly, fierce southwest winds slammed into the ship. The crew frantically tried to shorten sail, but the winds were too strong. The Lumberman capsized and sank.

Entangled in the rigging, Captain Vose almost drowned. But he and the crew climbed to the top of the masts, which protruded above the water when the Lumberman settled on the bottom. Three hours later, the passing steamer Menominee rescued the sailors from their cold, precarious perch.
The marker is located at the boat landing at Bender Front Waterfront Park, at the eastern end of Ryan Road, Oak Creek, Wisconsin 53134.

The Lumberman: A Double-Centerboard Schooner from the Great Lakes 
A fabulous anthology project by Mara Deckinga, Fall 2013 -- includes loads of details and photos.

The shipwreck site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Wisconsin: Milwaukee County.

This marker is included in Wisconsin's Maritime Trails: Historical Markers series.

Close-up of photo in upper left hand corner. Historic image of schooner Burt Barnes, similar to the Lumberman. Photo courtesy Historic Collections of the Great Lakes, Bowling Green State University.
Today, the largely intact Lumberman reminds us of how much life on the Great Lakes has changed in the last 150 years.

Close-up of archaeological site plan.

I arrived on the first day it spring. It was so beautiful, 
I took loads of photos . . .

 That's a 2-3 foot-thick shoal of ice hanging from the breakwater.

 The sign saying NO DOGS :(

 The marker is directly behind this building. The
building is adjacent to the boat launch parking lot.

 At the entrance to the boat launch.

View from the bluffs leading to marker location (at the boat launch).

 Signage leading to marker location.

The marker is at the boat launch at Bender Park Waterfront Park.

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