Lumberman Shipwreck (Tamara Thomsen photo, 2005)
Lake Michigan, Milwaukee County
Builder: Allyne Litchfield
Date of construction: 1862
The remains of the schooner Lumberman lie in 55 feet of water in Lake Michigan four miles east of Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Built in 1862 in the remote, frontier shipyard of Allyne Litchfield in Blendon's Landing, Michigan, the Lumberman was built specifically for transportation of lumber products. The three-masted, double centerboard schooner Lumberman sank in a fast moving Lake Michigan storm on 6 April 1893. Although much of the ship's equipment and the crew's personal effect have been salvaged by divers, the Lumberman is remarkably intact and provides historians and archaeologists the unique opportunity to study construction techniques on this unique vessel type. Built specifically for the Lake Michigan lumber trade, today it is unknown why some builders equipped their vessels with double centerboards while the majority of Great Lakes builders installed only one. Little documentation exists in the historic record regarding double centerboard schooners, and the Lumberman is one of only four double centerboard schooners known to exist in Wisconsin waters, making her an important archaeological resource.
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.