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

Schooner Christina Nilsson

Historic Shipwreck

 

—Wisconsin's Maritime Trails —

 
Schooner Christina Nilsson Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, June 8, 2014
1. Schooner Christina Nilsson Marker
Inscription.
Type: wooden schooner
Built: 1871, Hanson & Scove, Manitowoc, Wis.
Sank: Oct. 24, 1884
Length: 139.4'
Beam 26'
Cargoes: pig iron
Propulsion: sail, three-masted
Depth of wreckage: 15'
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

The Christina Nilsson typifies the vast fleet of Great Lakes schooners built after the Civil War. Serving as the semi-trucks of their day, these vessels ferried bulk goods and cargoes throughout the Great Lakes. Named after a renowned Swedish diva, the three-masted schooner Christina Nilsson spent her career carrying grain and iron bulk cargoes.

Her final voyage began on October 23, 1884, when she cleared Escanaba, Michigan, carrying 575 tons of pig iron bound for Chicago. By the time the Nilsson passed the Sturgeon Bay ship canal, the weather had deteriorated into a blinding snowstorm with gale force winds and high seas. Unable to see the entrance of the canal, Captain N.A. Hammer turned the Nilsson north in an attempt to outrun the storm and seek the protective shelter of Baileys Harbor.

As the schooner fought her way toward relative safety, the gale and the blinding blizzard forced her dangerously close to the east shore of Baileys Harbor. At 8:30 A.M. on October
Close-up of Photos and Captions image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, June 8, 2014
2. Close-up of Photos and Captions
24, 1884, the Christina Nilsson struck Outer Reef and began to founder. She soon sank in 15 feet of water, where the waves on the reef literally pounded her to pieces. All eight crew members abandoned the stricken vessel and made their way to shore in the Nilsson's yawl boat. No lives were lost.

Lying on the reef just off the Old Baileys Harbor Lighthouse, the wreck of the Christina Nilsson illustrates the dangers of navigating the Great Lakes in the nineteenth-century. The Nilsson's close proximity to shore, shallow depth and easy accessibility make it an ideal site for for divers, kayakers, and snorkelers to discover the history beneath Lake Michigan's waves. The main site is marked by a Wisconsin Historical Society seasonal shipwreck mooring buoy.

logos of: Wisconsin Historical Society, Sea Grant · University of Wisconsin

Title to Wisconsin's submerged archaeological sites is held in public trust by the State of Wisconsin. As steward of these unique historical and recreational resources, the Wisconsin Historical Society encourages responsible diver visitation of these sites. Please leave these sites intact for future generations to enjoy. Wisconsin law prohibits unauthorized disturbance or removal of artifacts, structure, cargo, or human remains. Report archaeological site looting at (800) TIP-WDNR.

This
Close-up of Wreckage, Attributions, and Looting Notice image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, June 8, 2014
3. Close-up of Wreckage, Attributions, and Looting Notice
marker was produced with funds from the Federal Highway Administration's Transportation Enhancement Program, administered through the Wisconsin Department of transportation.

CAUTION: Dive at your own risk. Sea Grant and the Wisconsin Historical Society accept no responsibility for loss of any kind including personal injury or property damage. In case of emergency, contact the Coast Guard by marine radio channel 16 or by phone at (414) 747-7182. For diving emergencies, call Divers Alert Network at (919) 684-8111.

 
Erected by the Wisconsin Historical Society's Maritime Preservation and Archaeology Program.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Wisconsin’s Maritime Trails marker series.
 
Location. 45° 3.949′ N, 87° 7.398′ W. Marker is in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin, in Door County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of State Highway 57 and County Road F / EE, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is on the overlook at Baileys Harbor Town Marina. Marker is at or near this postal address: 8132 Highway 57, Baileys Harbor WI 54202, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Baileys Harbor Town Marina (here, next to this marker); War Memorial
Schooner Christina Nilsson Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, June 8, 2014
4. Schooner Christina Nilsson Marker
Baileys Harbor Town Marina
(within shouting distance of this marker); August Zahn Residence (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); 8068 Hwy. 57 (approx. 0.2 miles away); 8064 Hwy. 57 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Baileys Harbor Lower Range Light (approx. 0.4 miles away); Steamer Frank O'Connor (approx. 4 miles away); Halfway to the North Pole (approx. 4.8 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Baileys Harbor.
 
More about this marker. captions:
• The schooner Moonlight, similar to the Great Lakes schooner Christina Nilsson  Photo Credit: Milwaukee Public Museum
• Through the Maritime Trails, the Wisconsin Historical Society and Wisconsin Sea Grant are working with local communities to preserve our maritime heritage. To learn more, visit www.maritimetrails.org.
• The remnants of the ship's bilge pump system
• One of the Christina Nilsson's mast steps
 
Also see . . .
1. Wisconsin Maritime Trails. (Submitted on June 9, 2014.)
2. Wisconsin's Great Lakes Shipwrecks
Baileys Harbor Town Marina Sign image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, June 8, 2014
5. Baileys Harbor Town Marina Sign
Charter Fishing • Lighthouse Cruises
. Christina Nilsson. (Submitted on June 9, 2014.) 

3. Christina Nilsson (shipwreck). Wikipedia entry. (Submitted on June 9, 2014.) 

4. Christina Nilsson. Swedish operatic soprano. Wikipedia entry. (Submitted on June 9, 2014.) 
 
Additional keywords. National Register of Historic Places #03000668
 
Categories. Waterways & Vessels
 
Baileys Harbor Town Marina Overlook image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, June 8, 2014
6. Baileys Harbor Town Marina Overlook
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 318 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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