Shorewood in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
—Wisconsin’s Maritime Trails —
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
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 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 & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels •
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 656 times since then and 23 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.