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

Steamer Appomattox

Historic Shipwreck

 

—Wisconsin’s Maritime Trails —

 
Steamer Appomattox Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul F, March 16, 2011
1. Steamer Appomattox Marker
Inscription. Type: Wooden bulk carrier
Built: 1896, Davidson Shipyard, West Bay City, Mich.
Sank: November 2, 1905, stranded
Length: 319’ Beam: 42’
Cargo: Iron ore, coal
Propulsion: Triple-expansion steam engine, propeller
Depth of Wreckage: 20’
Listed on National Register of Historic Places
Just 150 yards from here, in 20 feet of water, lies the Appomattox, the largest wooden steamer ever to sail the Great Lakes, possibly the world. Her builder, Captain James Davidson, pushed the limits of wooden shipbuilding techniques to 320 feet well after steel ships had become the norm, and “Davidson’s Goliaths” competed successfully with their steel counterparts. Powered by a triple-expansion steam engine, the Appomattox could carry 3,000 tons of ore herself and could tow a barge with another 5,000 tons.

On November 2, 1905, the Appomattox and her barge Santiago were loaded with coal and approaching Milwaukee. A blinding mixture of fog and industrial smoke from the city engulfed the vessels, and they ran aground off present-day Atwater Beach. Tugboats quickly pulled the Santiago free, but wrecking crews worked for 13 days to release the Appomattox. Even after jettisoning her cargo, however, they failed to free her. Storms and heavy seas pounded the ship on the
Steamer Appomattox Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul F, March 16, 2011
2. Steamer Appomattox Marker
Picture of Appomattox and Captain Davidson from upper left corner of marker
bottom, and finally the crew removed everything of value.

Today, large sections of the ship’s bilge, keel, and port-side hull remain intact. Seasonally marked by a Wisconsin Historical Society mooring buoy, the Appomattox is often visible from the surface.
 
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. 43° 5.432′ N, 87° 52.463′ W. Marker is in Shorewood, Wisconsin, in Milwaukee County. Marker is on N. Lake Dr. 0.1 miles north of E. Capitol Dr., on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located in Atwater Park, at the north end of the park. Marker is in this post office area: Milwaukee WI 53211, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Shorewood Village Hall (approx. half a mile away); Shorewood Armory (approx. 0.7 miles away); Shorewood High School (approx. 0.7 miles away); Milwaukee-Downer College Buildings (approx. 0.9 miles away); Carl Sandburg Hall (approx. 0.9 miles away); Lueddemann’s-On-The-River
Steamer Appomattox Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul F, March 16, 2011
3. Steamer Appomattox Marker
Underwater photos of Appomattox from lower left corner of marker.
(approx. 0.9 miles away); Milwaukee-Downer College (approx. 0.9 miles away); Old Sauk Trail (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shorewood.
 
Also see . . .
1. Wisconsin Ship Wrecks. (Submitted on March 18, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin.)
2. Wisconsin Maritime Trails. (Submitted on March 18, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin.)
 
Additional keywords. Shipwrecks
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
Steamer Appomattox Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul F, March 16, 2011
4. Steamer Appomattox Marker
Archeaological site plan of Appomattox
Steamer Appomattox Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul F, March 16, 2011
5. Steamer Appomattox Marker
with Lake Michigan in background
Atwater Beach and Lake Michigan image. Click for full size.
By Paul F, March 16, 2011
6. Atwater Beach and Lake Michigan
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 16, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 625 times since then and 51 times this year. Last updated on May 10, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 16, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
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