City of Green Bay

City Of Green Bay

N 42° 22.00″,  W 086° 17.97″,  5 – 10′ deep


 Aerial view of the City of Green BayThe City of Green Bay lived a long and eventful life before her demise in a severe storm in 1887 that claimed the Havana as well as several other ships and crew. Built in Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1872, the first years of her life were spent sailing in the ocean trade between such ports as Dundee, Scotland; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Liverpool, England; and Rio De Janeiro. Surviving a near fatal incident in Trinidad West Indies, she was condemned by inspectors. Chicago captain, J. B. Hall, familiar with the schooner, purchased and refitted her and utilized the vessel in making cargo runs between New Orleans and New England. She was later transferred to the Great Lakes, where in May 1883, in a Lake Huron fog, she was stranded on Thunder Bay Island. The ship was later re-floated and sent to dry-dock.

City of Green Bay keel

City of Green Bay keel

The attempted rescue of the crew created quite a controversy. South Haven Lifesaving Captain Cross’s mistakes that day would prove fata. He failed to bring the surf boat to the scene and instead brought the breeches buoy. Many attempts to shoot a line to the stricken schooner were unsuccessful and he finally sent for the surfboat. By the time it arrived it was too late to save all the crew. Only a single sailor was rescued when he fell into the water near the surfboat. Controversy surrounded the poor rescue effort and the captain of the station eventually was discharged.

City of Greenbay timbers

City of Green Bay timbers

The remains of the CITY OF GREEN BAY rest in shallow water south of South Haven. To reach the site by car, head south from South Haven on Business 196 and turn off and continue south on Blue Star Highway about 1 ¼ miles. Turn northwest on 76th and continue to the stop sign. Turn west on 13th, which curves into Roper. Cross the bridge and continue to the dead end. Park and lock your car in the public parking area. Carry or wear your equipment down the steps to the water. Head north along the beach and cross over the low break wall that runs parallel to the creek flowing into Lake Michigan. Walk about 120-150 paces north of the break wall and begin your dive at that point. The wreck lies about 50 feet off the beach, in about 10 feet of water. Due to shifting sands, and erosion, this location information may not be precise.

While little remains of the ship, the main floor of the vessel is still intact and offers a close up view of the construction of the ship. Here is a drawing by Valerie van Heest:

Drawing of the City of Greenbay

Drawing of the City of Green Bay