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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Green Bay Sloop site sketch

Green Bay Sloop Shipwreck
Bay of Green Bay, Town of Sevastopol, Door County
Construction date; circa 1840-1860

Resting in 85 feet of water, four miles off the mouth of Sturgeon Bay in the waters of Green Bay, the Green Bay Sloop represents a rare example of a Great Lakeís commercial freighting sloop. It is dated to circa 1840-1860 based on construction features and hull style.

Representative of a poorly understood vessel type and trade, the Green Bay Sloop shipwreck site allows historians and archaeologists the rare chance to study Great Lakes small commercial sailing craft. Small vessels like this provided economic and cultural links between Wisconsinís developing coastal communities. Vessels like the Green Bay Sloop were an important link for developing Wisconsin communities, connecting them with wider regional markets. Throughout the nineteenth century, these small ships occupied a special niche in the Lake Michigan regional economy. The uncertainty in identifying the vessel is due to a virtual absence of documentation, both historic and contemporary, of Great Lakes small craft.

The Green Bay Sloop site is the only example of a commercial freighting sloop known to exist in Wisconsin waters, making it a significant archaeological resource. No historic record of commercial freighting sloop construction exists today, making archaeological examples particularly significant. Their construction techniques and the economic rationale behind their design and operation are poorly understood. Information gathered from the Green Bay Sloop site has broadened our understanding of commercial freighting sloop construction and use, and holds vast potential to yield further significant information essential to understanding nineteenth-century maritime commerce and vessel construction.

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 Wisconsinís Great Lakes Shipwrecks website.


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