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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
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.
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 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.
Schooner Kate Kelly Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, May 9, 2011
2. Schooner Kate Kelly Marker
Looking out to Lake Michigan
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.
 
Erected by Wisconsin Historical Society, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Wisconsin’s Maritime Trails marker series.
 
Location. 42° 46.879′ N, 87° 45.468′ W. Marker is in Wind Point, Wisconsin, in Racine County. Marker can be reached from Lighthouse Drive ¼ mile south of Four Mile Road. Touch for map. Marker is located on the Lake Michigan shore at Wind Point Lighthouse. Marker is in this post office area: Racine WI 53402, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Capstan (a few steps from this marker); Fog Horn House (a few steps from this marker); Surf Boat Rail (a few steps from this marker); Pier and Boat Rails (within shouting distance of this marker); Fuel House (within shouting distance of this marker); The Wind Point Lighthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Cream Brick Cottages / Cream Brick (approx. 2.7 miles away); Gilbert Knapp Park (approx. 3 miles away).
 
More about this marker.
Schooner Kate Kelly image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, May 9, 2011
3. Schooner Kate Kelly
Historic photo of the schooner Beers, similar to the Kate Kelly. Image courtesy of Historic Collections of the Great Lakes, Bowling Green State University
This is a Wisconsin's Maritime Trails marker.
 
Also see . . .
1. Wisconsin Ship Wrecks. (Submitted on May 12, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin.)
2. Wisconsin Maritime Trails. (Submitted on May 12, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin.)
 
Additional keywords. Shipwrecks
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
Schooner Kate Kelly image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, May 9, 2011
4. Schooner Kate Kelly
Archaelogical Site Plan
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 10, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 866 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 10, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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