Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

.13 miles SW of Whitefish Dunes State Park, Lake Michigan

National or State Register of Historic Places
.13 miles SW of Whitefish Dunes State Park, Lake Michigan | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Success Shipwreck (Scow Schooner)
Reference Number:15000711
Location (Address):.13 miles SW of Whitefish Dunes State Park, Lake Michigan
Success Shipwreck (Scow Schooner)
Lake Michigan, Sevastopol, Door County, WI
Date of Construction: 1875
Builder: Julius Johnson

The scow schooner Success (47-DR493) lies in 8 feet of water in Lake Michigan partially covered by sand in Whitefish Bay, 500 feet south of Whitefish Dunes State Park, Town of Sevastopol, Wisconsin. Nearly all hull structure, artifacts, and some rigging implements remain intact on the site beneath the shifting sand. Julius Johnson, a Norwegian foreman and spar maker at Hanson & Scove Shipyard, built Success privately in Manitowoc, Wisconsin for other Norwegian immigrants entering the Great Lakes maritime trade. She operated primarily in the Lake Michigan lumber trade her entire career.

Late in the evening on 22 November 1896, Success arrived at Whitefish Bay to pick up a load of lumber for Christen Olson, her former owner. A southwest gale was building, bringing large seas into the bay. The wind shifted to the southeast on 25 November, which brought even larger waves into the bay. From this direction it blew into Thanksgiving Day, 26 November. Success began leaking so badly that by the afternoon her pumps were unable to keep water out of the vessel. In a heroic effort, Fred Raatz in a pound boat, owned by Fred and Charles Raatz, Peter Peterson, and Ed Thompson, went out to the wreck and rescued all of Success’ crew. Her cargo was later salvaged, although, the vessel, valued at $1,000, was declared a total loss.

Today, the Success is the only known example of a scow schooner in the Great Lakes with fore-and-aft bottom hull planking, and provides historians and archaeologists the rare chance to study and document this vessel type. Interestingly, this wreck site also has a large number of artifacts not normally found with Wisconsin shipwrecks. Given that much of this wreck is covered by sand, there is the potential that more artifacts may be uncovered; these artifacts may shed light on the intra-Lake lumber trade, such as for example, day to day shipboard life. Success remains undisturbed and lightly visited.

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:1875-1896
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:Johnson, Julius
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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