Great Lakes Maritime History Project
Great Lakes maritime history, Wisconsin history, Wisconsin immigrants, shipwrecks. The state of Wisconsin has a proud and colorful history. One of its richest and most romantic chapters is its maritime history, staged on the waters of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, on hundreds of smaller lakes and a whole network of rivers. Much of that fascinating story has been captured in photography and art and this web site brings to the public eye some of its highlights.Wisconsin pioneers of the 1830s and '40s, largely Irish, German and Scandinavian immigrants, came West on paddlewheel steamboats. Lumber from Wisconsin's forests was ferried to the markets of the East by hundreds of tall sailing ships. Fleets of swift propellers brought manufactured goods from the Atlantic states to burgeoning Wisconsin cities in the Civil War era, and took back grain and flour and dairy products from Badger State farms. Since the 1860s, natural resources mined in Wisconsin have been transported to distant cities and steel mills by distinctive Great Lakes bulk freighters. The ports of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior became favorite destinations for passenger cruise liners before the end of the Nineteenth Century. And more recently, the St. Lawrence Seaway has brought to Wisconsin's ports literally hundreds of picturesque ocean ships each year.