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

Schooner Pretoria

Historic Shipwreck

 

—Wisconsin’s Maritime Trails —

 
Schooner <i>Pretoria</i> Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, September 25, 2016
1. Schooner Pretoria Marker
Inscription. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places In the waters off Outer Island lies the wreck of the Pretoria, one of the largest wooden vessels ever to sail the Great lakes. On September 1, 1905, Captain Charles Smart and nine crew departed the Allouez ore docks in Superior, Wis., in tow of the steamer Venezuela. They were bound for Chicago with a load of iron ore. The following morning the two vessels encountered a ferocious gale 30 miles northeast of Outer Island. When Pretoria's steering gear failed, they headed for the shelter of the Apostle Islands. The tow line snapped before they reached the islands, leaving the colossal Pretoria helpless and wallowing in the heavy seas. In the poor visibility, the Venezuela lost sight of the Pretoria.

Captain Smart lowered his anchors, but they could not hold in the rocky bottom. The pounding seas ripped the hatch covers, and Pretoria started taking on water. The anchors finally took hold a mile and a half off Outer Island. By mid-afternoon, a big roller had ripped off a deck house, and the waves were tearing away at the deck. Captain Smart finally ordered Pretoria's crew to the lifeboat. The crashing surf near shore capsized them and flung them ten feet into the air. The elderly lighthouse keeper on Outer Island , John Irvine,
Schooner <i>Pretoria</i> Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, September 25, 2016
2. Schooner Pretoria Marker
Archaeological Site Plan
repeatedly plunged into the waves and pulled five men to safety. The other five drowned.

Today, the Pretoria lies in 55 feet of water off Outer Island. Marked by a Wisconsin Historical Society seasonal mooring buoy, the broken hull lies amid a large debris field. The donkey boiler, salvaged in the 1960s, was returned to the site in 2001. Pretoria's anchor chain is draped around Bayfield’s waterfront as ornamental fencing, and her anchors are on display at the Madeline Island Historical Museum.

Type: Wooden schooner-barge, three-masted
Built: 1900, Davidson Shipyard, West Bay City, Mich.
Sank: September 2, 1905
Length: 338’ Beam: 44’
Cargo: Iron ore
Depth of Wreckage: 55’
Lives lost: 5

 
Erected by Wisconsin Historical Society, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, NOAA.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Wisconsin Historical Society marker series.
 
Location. 46° 48.516′ N, 90° 48.888′ W. Marker is in Bayfield, Wisconsin, in Bayfield County. Marker is at the intersection of South 1st Street and Wilson Street, on the right when traveling south on South 1st Street. Touch for map. Marker located in front of Bayfield Maritime Museum.

Schooner <i>Pretoria</i> Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, September 25, 2016
3. Schooner Pretoria Marker
Upper left inset: The only existing photo of the Pretoria. Courtesy of Historical Collections of the Great lakes, Bowling Green State University
Marker is at or near this postal address: 131 S 1st St, Bayfield WI 54814, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A Turning Point in Place and Time (within shouting distance of this marker); Memorial to Commercial Fishermen of Bayfield (approx. 0.2 miles away); Bayfield Historic Waterfront (approx. ¼ mile away); The Booth Cooperage (approx. 0.3 miles away); Madeline Island (approx. 2.3 miles away); Early Vessels (approx. 2.7 miles away); a different marker also named Madeline Island (approx. 6.6 miles away); Washburn, The Monolith City (approx. 10 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bayfield.
 
Additional keywords. Shipwrecks
 
Categories. DisastersIndustry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
Schooner <i>Pretoria</i> Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, September 25, 2016
4. Schooner Pretoria Marker
Previously salvaged donkey boiler, returned in 2001
Schooner <i>Pretoria</i> Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, September 25, 2016
5. Schooner Pretoria Marker
Schooner <i>Pretoria</i> Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, September 25, 2016
6. Schooner Pretoria Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 29, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 27, 2016, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 245 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 27, 2016, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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