Has anyone heard of the Christmas tree ship? Perhaps some of the old timers have. From 1898 till 1912, Captain Schuenemann was the skipper of the Christmas Tree Ship. Bringing hundreds of Christmas trees across Lake Michigan to Chicago area residents, the skipper was known for his generosity and was well liked by all. Captain Schuenemann made sure everyone had a Christmas tree no matter if they had the money or not.
Thanksgiving Day 1912 with the ship loaded down with Christmas trees the famous Christmas Ship disappeared into Lake Michigan. The skipper went out during the ‘big storm’ of 1912 determined to deliver Christmas trees that year. It is not known exactly why but with distress signals flying the ship did not stop while passing Kewaunee, Wisconsin. Onlookers claimed they could see the sails tattered and hundreds of ice covered trees onboard.
Years later, divers discovered the ship resting peacefully on the bottom of Lake Michigan, its wheel missing. Speculation is that during one of the many huge swells some of the frozen trees shifted and slid into the wheel tearing it completely off. The ship and its crew drifted helplessly until the storm finally claimed the Christmas Tree Ship.
Every year since, visitors to the lake have seen the phantom ship sailing by loaded with trees, trying to bring Christmas trees to Chicago land residents.