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Wind Point in Racine County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Schooner Kate Kelly

Historic Shipwreck

— Wisconsin’s Maritime Trails —

 
 
Schooner Kate Kelly Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Paul Fehrenbach, May 9, 2011
1. Schooner Kate Kelly Marker
Inscription.  Type: Wooden schooner, two-masted
Built: 1867, Martell, Tonawanda, N.Y.; rebuilt 1875-1876
Sank: May, 14, 1895
Length: 126’ Beam: 25’
Cargo: Grain, coal, and lumber
Depth: 55’
Lives Lost: 7

About two miles offshore from here, the wooden schooner Kate Kelly lies broken and scattered in 55 feet of water. She had departed Alpena, Mich., in early May 1895, loaded with railroad ties and bound for her home port of Chicago. In command was Captain Hartley J. Hatch, one of the Great Lakes’ most experienced captains. He had led Great Lakes schooners and steamers on trips to South Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, and Europe. Captain Hatch was also an inventor and had outfitted the Kate Kelly with novel life-saving devices that were “a wonder to all lakemen.”

On May 13, the Kate Kelly encountered a raging storm that proved too much for her and Captain Hatch’s inventions. She sank just short of her home port, as farmers watched helplessly from the shore. Soon, the only signs of the Kate Kelly were her masts protruding from the water and thousands of railroad ties floating off
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Wind Point. Captain Hatch and all six crewmen perished.

During her three decades of service, the Kate Kelly made many long trips hauling grain and coal between Lake Michigan ports and Kingston, Ontario. Similar wooden schooners dominated Great Lakes shipping after the Civil War. Even with stiff competition from steam vessels, the adaptable vessels survived on the lakes into the 1930’s.

Photo captions:
Top left: Historic photo of the schooner Beers, similar to the Kate Kelly. Image courtesy of Historic Collections of the Great Lakes, Bowling Green State University
Bottom left: Donkey engine gear, used for raising anchors and sails.
Underwater archaeologists prepare detailed drawings of the Kate Kelly during an investigation of the site. This study provides a wealth of information about nineteenth century maritime life and ship construction, while assisting in the management and preservation of the site.
Right: Archaeological Site Plan

 
Erected by Wisconsin Historical Society, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels.
Schooner Kate Kelly Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Paul Fehrenbach, May 9, 2011
2. Schooner Kate Kelly Marker
Looking out to Lake Michigan
In addition, it is included in the Lost at Sea, and the Wisconsin’s Maritime Trails series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1917.
 
Location. 42° 46.88′ N, 87° 45.465′ W. Marker is in Wind Point, Wisconsin, in Racine County. Marker can be reached from Lighthouse Drive, ¼ mile south of Four Mile Road. Located on the Lake Michigan shore at Wind Point Lighthouse. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Racine WI 53402, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Foghorn Building (a few steps from this marker); Fog Horn House (a few steps from this marker); Surf Boat Rail (a few steps from this marker); Fuel House (within shouting distance of this marker); The Fuel House and Former Boat House (within shouting distance of this marker); The Architect (within shouting distance of this marker); The Light (within shouting distance of this marker); The Lighthouse (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wind Point.
 
More about this marker. This is a Wisconsin's Maritime Trails marker.
 
Also see . . .
1. Wisconsin Shipwrecks. (Submitted on May 12, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin.)
2. Wisconsin Maritime Trails
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. (Submitted on May 12, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin.)
 
Additional keywords. Shipwrecks Schooner Kate Kelly
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 10, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 1,246 times since then and 63 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 10, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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May. 28, 2024