The Wreck of the “Christmas Tree Ship”, Lake Michigan, 1912
The 'Rouse Simmons' was one of a handful of ships that transported Christmas trees from the Upper Peninsula (and Wisconsin) down Lake Michigan to Chicago. The Schuenemann brothers, August and Herman, began their line of tree transportation ships in 1890.
Every November, the Rouse Simmons would dock in the Michigan town of Thompson, load up with Christmas trees, and head down the lake.
After brother August died in 1898, Herman continued the tree transporting – and in 1910 bought an 1868 schooner, the Rouse Simmons, named after the founder of Simmon' mattresses.
On November 22, 1912, the Rouse Simmons left Thompson, loaded with Christmas trees, headed for Chicago. They never arrived.
Captain Herman Schuenemann, the ship, the trees, and sixteen crew members disappeared. In the years that followed, the trees that were on board would wash up on various shores around Lake Michigan, and Herman's wallet was snatched up in a fisherman's net in 1923, eleven years after the disappearance.
The ship was discovered 59 years later by a diver, in 165 feet of water twelve miles from Two Rivers, Wisconsin. It was determined that the infamous “gales of November” were responsible for the loss.
The ship still lies where it originally sank, with many parts still intact. Even though there were others, the Rouse Simmons became known as the most popular of all the Christmas Tree Ships. Take a look at the photo gallery below.
Thanks to: Wisconsin Shipwrecks
WRECK OF THE ROUSE SIMMONS