Christmas Tree Ship - Thompson, MI
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member linkys
N 45° 54.400 W 086° 19.480
16T E 552380 N 5083900
Quick Description: This marker is located where the tragic final voyage of the schooner Rouse Simmons began. A ship that has gone down in history as the Christmas Tree Ship.
Location: Michigan, United States
Date Posted: 8/12/2011 1:57:26 PM
Waymark Code: WMC9FT
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member Scook
Views: 15

Long Description:

Herman Schuenemann, the captain of the Rouse Simmons was one of a number of ship's captains who would make a late season sailing to deliver Christmas trees, and in Schuenemann's case to Chicago. Well known for his extraordinary sense of philanthropy, his arrival was always eagerly anticipated. In late November of 1912 he departed as a very severe storm was brewing, and the next day off Two Rivers, Wisconsin, the Rouse Simmons went to the bottom of Lake Michigan with the loss of all hands.

In future years Schuenemann's delivery of Christmas trees was carried on by his wife and later his daughters. With all this the legend of the Christmas Tree Ship continued to grow, till today it is an integral part of Great Lakes lore. The fate that befell Captain Schuenemann was also reflected in the town of his departure, and over the years all the timber mills that made Thompson a thriving town has disappeared, as has most of the town itself.

The marker is part of a display that has additional information about the ship and the area, and is worthwhile visiting. There are a number of websites that have information on the Christmas Tree Ship, but the one used as a source for this waymark, at the National Archives is excellent.

The Rouse Simmons was one of the last schooners on the Great Lakes. Built in 1868 to carry lumber, the three-masted vessel became Chicago's "Christmas Tree Ship" when Herman Schuenemann purchased an interest in it in 1910 Around 1876 the Schuenemanns had begun transporting trees from northern Michigan and Wisconsin to Chicago. In November 1898 Herman's brother August perished in the wreck of the Schooner S. Thal, but Herman continued in the business. Bound for Chicago on November 22, 1912, he boarded the Simmons, which was loaded with trees from Thompson's forests, and sailed into a fierce snowstorm that plunged the ship and its crew and passengers, to the lake bottom. Herman's wife and daughters delivered trees to Chicago each Christmas until around 1934.

Parking nearby?: yes

D/T ratings:

website: [Web Link]

Registered Site #: S0696

Historical Date: Not listed

Historical Name: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
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Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
Historic Markers visited Christmas Tree Ship  - Thompson, MI 3/12/2018 Historic Markers visited it
Rattrak visited Christmas Tree Ship  - Thompson, MI 9/4/2017 Rattrak visited it
just for the fun visited Christmas Tree Ship  - Thompson, MI 12/27/2015 just for the fun visited it

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