Sunday, December 17, 2006

New Findings on Fate of the Christmas Tree Ship

New Findings on Fate of the Christmas Tree Ship New Findings on Fate of the Christmas Tree Ship at the Wisconsin Historical Society. "...During the 19th century, Chicago was one of the busiest shipping ports in the world. By 1875 nearly 21,000 vessels cleared the port of Chicago annually. A Great Lakes ship carried nearly every commodity that passed through the bustling city, and Christmas trees were no exception. Each year, several sailing ships ended their season by loading evergreens in northern Wisconsin or Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and setting sail for Chicago, where they offloaded their trees to end their shipping season.
Many Christmas tree ships sold their cargo to wholesalers, freeing themselves of the burden of selling off thousands of trees one at a time. Other captains, however, taken with the holiday spirit, turned their ships into floating tree lots along the Chicago River, welcoming customers aboard and taking great pride and pleasure in their business. One of these captains was Herman Schuenemann. Each November, Captain Schuenemann loaded the schooner Rouse Simmons to nearly overflowing with evergreens in Thompson, Michigan."