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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Kenosha in Kenosha County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Early Vessels

Wisconsin's Maritime Trails

 
 
Early Vessels Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 25, 2012
1. Early Vessels Marker
Inscription. Native American canoes launched America’s maritime legacy about 12,000 years ago, making them among the world’s oldest watercraft.

Ancient dugout canoes are occasionally preserved when environmental conditions are just right. The canoe above was submerged and waterlogged when it was discovered in 1996 by a twelve-year-old girl and her grandfather in Lake Mary, near Kenosha. They left their find submerged and reported it immediately, allowing Wisconsin Historical Society underwater archaeologists to carefully remove and conserve it. Preserving the dugout required a long process of replacing the water in the wood with a chemical solution that prevents collapse and decay. The 2,000 year old dugout is Wisconsin's oldest known watercraft.

Native American dugout and birchbark canoes were efficient and well-suited for traveling and gathering food along Wisconsin's lakes and rivers.

During the 1800s, Native Americans paddled large fleets of dugout and birchbark canoes along the Lake Michigan coastline. Once a year they headed to Chicago to receive treaty payments offered in exchange for their land and resources. As many as three hundred travelers would land their canoes on Simmon's Island, not far from here. In one account, Lake Michigan's unpredictable and dangerous weather stranded the boaters on the island
Early Vessels Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 25, 2012
2. Early Vessels Marker
in front of Kenosha Public Museum.
for three weeks.
 
Erected by Wisconsin Historical Society and University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Wisconsin’s Maritime Trails marker series.
 
Location. 42° 35.181′ N, 87° 48.773′ W. Marker is in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in Kenosha County. Marker is at the intersection of First Avenue and 56th Street, on the right when traveling south on First Avenue. Click for map. Marker is located in front of Kenosha Public Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5500 First Avenue, Kenosha WI 53140, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Kenosha (Southport) Lighthouse (approx. 0.3 miles away); Southport-Kenosha (approx. 0.3 miles away); Naval Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); The United States Marine Corps (approx. 0.3 miles away); Simmon's [sic] Island Beach House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Simmons Island Park (approx. 0.3 miles away); Remember Pearl Harbor (approx. 0.3 miles away); Operations Desert Shield / Storm Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Kenosha.
 
Also see . . .  Wisconsin's Maritme Trails. Wisconsin Historical Society (Submitted on July 26, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Photo upper left image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 25, 2012
3. Photo upper left
This two thousand-year-old dugout canoe was discovered in Lake Mary in Kenosha County. The preserved canoe is now on display at the Kenosha Public Museum. Image courtesy of Wisconsin Historical Society
 
 
Categories. ExplorationNative AmericansSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels
 
Lower left photo image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 25, 2012
4. Lower left photo
Image courtesy of Wisconsin Historical Society Archives, WHI #28328
Photo upper right image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 25, 2012
5. Photo upper right
Fire was an important tool for making dugout canoes. Native Americans used controlled burning to fell trees, reduce them to the desired length, and hollow them out. They used stone or metal tools to remove the charred wood and to shape the canoe. When European explorers arrived, they documented and copied the techniques. Woodcarving by Theodore de Bry, from Discovering the New World
Photo lower right image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 25, 2012
6. Photo lower right
Spearing fish from a canoe
Engraving by Army artist Seth Eastman, 1850
Image courtesy of W. Duncan and Nivin MacMillan and Afton Historical Society Press
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 334 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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