by Rochelle M. Pennington (Author) , Charles Vickery (Artist)
Captain Herman Schuenemann became affectionately known as “Captain Santa” for his yearly voyages from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Chicago with a load of freshly cut Christmas trees during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Families would wait anxiously at the docks for their choice of the best trees.
Captain Schuenemann’s voyage of 1912 was to be his last. Fully loaded and ready to sail, the Christmas Tree Ship set out for its final destination on the southern end of Lake Michigan. Despite the crew’s best efforts, the ship was unable to withstand the gales of the Great Lakes and went down off the coast of Two Rivers, Wisconsin.
Today, the Christmas Tree Ship is remembered as one of the most “storied shipwrecks” of the Great Lakes, and the legend has held its place in history for nearly a century already.