Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

1.75 miles NW of Fish Creek, Lake Michigan

National or State Register of Historic Places
1.75 miles NW of Fish Creek, Lake Michigan | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Hanover Shipwreck
Reference Number:15000710
Location (Address):1.75 miles NW of Fish Creek, Lake Michigan
Hanover Shipwreck (Schooner)
Bay of Green Bay, Gibraltar, Door County, Wisconsin
Date of Construction: 1853
Builder: Charles Stevens

Located 1.75 miles northwest of the town of Fish Creek, Wisconsin, in the bay of Green Bay, the wreck site (47DR273) of the schooner Hanover lies on the lakebed in 18 to 21 feet of water. Although her rigging and deck machinery were salvaged, her lower hull remains intact and is well preserved.

The schooner Hanover was constructed by shipwright Charles Stevens in Irving, New York in 1853 and carried various bulk cargoes on the upper Great Lakes for the duration of her career. Constructed prior to the Civil War, the Hanover represents one of the earliest examples of schooner construction. The Hanover is an example of a vessel type that was vital to Wisconsin’s economy and the economy of the Midwest through maritime bulk cargo transportation, an infrastructure prior to the development of road and rail networks.

In November 1867, the Hanover became stranded on the shoal south of the Strawberry Islands. Captain McElligott instructed the crew to cut away her mainmast above the deck in order to recover part of her outfit and begin the process of stripping and abandoning the ship. The ship was a total loss.

The Hanover was discovered on 25 June 2014 and documented by Wisconsin Historical Society archaeologists on 1 July 2014. To the best of our knowledge, only archaeological survey divers have visited Hanover’s remains. Additional information from the site may significantly add to our understanding of Great Lakes sailing vessels. Nineteenth-century wooden vessels were rarely built to drawn plans. Today, little documentation exists that illustrates how these vessels were constructed, the nuances of differing hull lines, construction techniques, and adaptations to bulk cargo needs between sailing vessel types. As one of the earliest documented schooners in Wisconsin waters, data gathered on the Hanover has significantly increased our understanding of early schooner construction, and holds the potential to yield additional information essential to understanding how they were used in nineteenth century maritime commerce.

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 www.wisconsinshipwrecks.org.

Period of Significance:1853-1867
Area of Significance:Archeology/Historic - Non-Aboriginal
Area of Significance:Maritime History
Area of Significance:Commerce
Applicable Criteria:Information Potential
Historic Use:Transportation: Water-Related
Architectural Style:Other
Resource Type:Site
Architect:Stevens, Charles
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
National Register Listing Date:10/05/2015
State Register Listing Date:05/08/2015
Number of Contributing Buildings:0
Number of Contributing Sites:1
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:1
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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