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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Archaeologists examine the wreck (Tamara Thomsen photo, 2005)

Iris Shipwreck
Jackson Harbor, Door County
Date of Construction: 1866
Builder: Lorenzo S. Bedford

The Iris was a small 74-foot scow schooner built in 1866 in Port Huron, Michigan. She led a long and interesting career as a coasting schooner, sailing out of Washington Island's Detroit Harbor for most of her career. Much of what we know of the Iris is gleaned from contemporary accounts from the Door County Advocate, including having been given up for lost on several occasions, the loss of Captain Anderson when he fell overboard in Milwaukee harbor, battling fierce Lake Michigan storms, collisions, and repeated changes of ownership. Having survived an amazing 47 years on the Great Lakes, the Iris was eventually abandoned in Jackson Harbor in 1913 after having run aground. Today, her remains lie in two feet of water a short distance from the Rock Island Ferry Dock in Jackson Harbor. 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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