|The wrecks that lie off Wisconsin’s Shipwreck Coast tell the story of our nation’s past and speak to the rich heritage of the Great Lakes. One of the most well known of these lost vessels is the Rouse Simmons – the Christmas Tree Ship. Captained by Herman Scheunemann, the Christmas Tree Ship traveled north every year to collect pine trees from Michigan and delivered them to Chicago residents. Captain Scheunemann always donated a portion of his trees to families who were unable to purchase them, earning him the moniker “Captain Santa.” Tragically, in November of 1912, the Rouse Simmons sank with all hands in a violent winter storm off the coast of Wisconsin.
The history of the Great Lakes echoes loudly in the present day. These waters’ unique maritime heritage continues to connect communities across the region and beyond. Join us this holiday season to hear about the tragic fate of the Rouse Simmons, as well as its legacy of generosity that continues to today.