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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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T.H. Camp - historic photo

T.H. Camp - historic photo

T.H. Camp
Town of La Pointe, Lake Superior, Ashland County
Date of Construction: 1876
Builder: Luther Reed

The twenty-five year operational career of the fish tug T. H. Camp spanned a time of unprecedented growth and change in the Great Lakes commercial fishing industry. The T.H. Camp first witnessed the demise of eastern fishing grounds on Lake Ontario before being sold to interests in western Lake Superior, where commercial fishing was reaching its zenith. With the railroad connection between Bayfield and large cities to the south, new markets were opened to Lake Superior fresh fish, and commercial fishing in the Apostles Islands greatly expanded. Steam-powered fish tugs such as the T.H. Camp were essential to region's commercial fishing growth.

Steam power allowed the expansion of fishing grounds by transporting the catch from small remote fish camps to market via fish tugs, or "purchase boats." Prior to steam, sail-powered fishing vessels were restricted to fishing within the immediate vicinity of their home ports, where they could quickly transport their catch to market. Steam tugs like the T.H. Camp allowed fishing vessels to venture farther from their home ports without the need to frequently return with their catch before it spoiled, and the tugs supplied the fishing camps with necessary supplies on return trips. The Bayfield steam tugs regularly ran as far as two hundred miles from their home ports, collecting fish as far away as Isle Royale and the Canadian shore.

The largely intact T.H. Camp rests in deep water in Lake Superior's Apostle Islands. The tug and its cargo were lost in November 1900.

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.


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