300 feet east of Big Bay State Park, Lake Superior | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

300 feet east of Big Bay State Park, Lake Superior

National Register or State Register

NAMES

Historic Name: Big Bay Sloop Shipwreck

Reference Number: 08001327

PROPERTY LOCATION

Location (Address): 300 feet east of Big Bay State Park, Lake Superior

County: Ashland

City/Village: 

Township: La Pointe

SUMMARY

Big Bay Sloop Shipwreck
Lake Superior, Ashland County
Builder: unknown
Date of construction: 1880

Resting in 25 feet of water within Madeline Island's Big Bay in Lake Superior, approximately 300 feet east of Big Bay State Park, are the remains of a small unidentified sloop. Tentatively identified as a Huron boat following its discovery in the 1990s (a derivative of the Mackinaw boat), further work failed to positively identify the vessel type or name, but suggested the vessel is a type of vernacular sloop. The uncertainty in identifying the vessel type is due to an almost complete absence of either historical or contemporary documentation of small craft on the Great Lakes. The Big Bay Sloop is the only one of its type known to exist in Wisconsin waters, making it a significant archaeological resource. Sites like the Big Bay Sloop are vitally important to our understanding of the construction and use of historic small craft on the Great Lakes.

The sloop's construction and the history of the development of the Apostle Islands indicate a circa date of 1880-1920. Although small craft were common in the Apostle Islands region much earlier than 1880, the vessel's wire rigging and metal cleat place the use of this vessel nearer the turn of the century. The proximity of the vessel to an abandoned crib suggest it was in commercial use at the time of its loss, and by 1920 screw-powered vessels had largely supplanted sail power in small commercial watercraft.

State and federal laws protect this shipwreck. Divers may not remove artifacts or structure when visiting this shipwreck site. Removing, defacing, displacing or destroying artifacts or sites is a crime. More information on Wisconsin's historic shipwrecks may be found by visiting Wisconsin's Great Lakes Shipwrecks website.

PROPERTY FEATURES

Period of Significance: 1880-1920

Area of Significance: Archeology/Historic - Non-Aboriginal

Area of Significance: Commerce

Area of Significance: Maritime History

Applicable Criteria: Information Potential

Historic Use: Transportation: Water-Related

Architectural Style: Other

Resource Type: Site

Architect: unknown

DESIGNATIONS

Historic Status: Listed in the National Register

Historic Status: Listed in the State Register

National Historic Landmark Listing Date:

National Register Listing Date: 2009-01-14

State Register Listing Date: 2008-10-17

NUMBER OF RESOURCES WITHIN PROPERTY

Number of Contributing Buildings: 0

Number of Contributing Sites: 1

Number of Contributing Structures: 0

Number of Contributing Objects: 0

Number of Non-Contributing Buildings: 0

Number of Non-Contributing Sites: 0

Number of Non-Contributing Structures: 0

Number of Non-Contributing Objects: 0

RECORD LOCATION

National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation-Public History, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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National Register of Historic Places Citation
National Register of Historic Places, "Historic Name", "Town", "County", "State", "Reference Number".

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