Copper Harbor in Keweenaw County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
"You will call her the John Jacob Astor."
"The finest vessel afloat"
In 1835, two years before the Territory of Michigan becomes a state, the American Fur Company builds a small schooner at Sault Ste. Marie and launches it on Lake Superior.
The boat is called “the finest vessel afloat on the Upper Lakes" and, by one passenger, "a very neat, snug little craft."
From his Mackinac Island headquarters, Ramsey Crooks, president of the company, sends a basket of champagne for the christening and instructs: "You will call her the John Jacob Astor."
The John Jacob Aster is named for the 72-year old founder of the American Fur Company. Measuring 78 feet long and weighing 112 tons, the double-mast schooner is said to be the first American vessel “larger than an open boat” on Lake Superior.
Although the company’s fur trade is in decline, it employs the Astor in commercial fishing runs, hauling supplies between Sault Ste. Marie and La Pointe, Wisconsin, and freighting barrels of salted lake trout and whitefish for city markets.
I wish the Astor… to make all the trips
The American Fur Company changes the Astor's rigging in 1839, converting the vessel from a topsail schooner to a square sail brig.
Expecting brisk business to result from a copper rush, in early 1844 it re-fits the brig's passenger quarters and wins a lucrative government contract to carry troops, building materials and supplies to the new fort at Copper Harbor.
The Michigan Historical Center gratefully acknowledges the family of Violet “Toddy” Dow Fischer for its support of this exhibit.
Erected by Michigan Historical Center.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1835.
Location. 47° 28.072′ N, 87° 51.948′ W. Marker is in Copper Harbor, Michigan, in Keweenaw County. Marker can be reached from Fanny Hoe Creek, 0.1 miles north of U.S. 41. Marker is located along the boardwalk in Astor Shipwreck Park, overlooking Copper Harbor to the north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Copper Harbor MI 49918, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. "The Astor will never leave Copper Harbor." (here, next to this marker); Life on the Astor (here, next to this marker); Shipwreck "A Rallying Point for Copper Adventurers" (a few steps from this marker); The Copper Harbor Lighthouse (a few steps from this marker); The Estivant Pines (approx. 1.1 miles away); Fort Wilkins State Park and Historic Complex (approx. 1.1 miles away); Copper Harbor (approx. 1.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Copper Harbor.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. The John Jacob Astor Shipwreck
Also see . . .
1. John Jacob Astor. The brig was used extensively to supply the early outposts around Lake Superior. She was built by the American Fur Trading Company to replace the early French and British vessels which had disappeared from the Lake. She was assembled under the supervision of Oliver Newberry and Ramsay Crooks, her owner, at the Soo between May and August of 1834, when she was launched. The Astor brought many miners and missionaries to the Lake Superior country as she was the first American commercial vessel to sail Lake Superior. She was captained alternatingly by Charles and Benjamin Stannard, (Submitted on July 28, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. John Jacob Astor: Wealthy Merchant and Fur Trader. By 1800, Astor was recognized as the leading American merchant in the fur trade and was thought to be worth a quarter of a million dollars. He was still only beginning... (Submitted on July 28, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. John Jacob Astor (Wikipedia). Seeing the expansion of population to the west, he entered the fur trade and built a monopoly, managing a business empire that extended to the Great Lakes region and Canada, and later expanded into the American West and Pacific coast. In 1822, Astor established the Robert Stuart House on Mackinac Island in Michigan as headquarters for the reorganized American Fur Company, making the island a metropolis of the fur trade. He was the first prominent member of the Astor family and the first multi-millionaire in the United States. (Submitted on July 28, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Additional keywords. "You will call her the John Jacob Astor."
Credits. This page was last revised on July 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 26, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 241 times since then and 60 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 28, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.