Bring your curiosity and your questions along to our upcoming OCHS Quarterly Meeting as we learn about the ships that lie in the water along the coast of Lake Michigan from Ozaukee County to Manitowoc County, and the proposed national marine sanctuary being considered for that area. In 2014, the State of Wisconsin and several communities along the mid Lake Michigan shoreline nominated an area of Lake Michigan for consideration as a national marine sanctuary. The proposed 1,075-square-mile sanctuary would protect 37 shipwrecks and related underwater cultural resources that possess exceptional historic, archaeological and recreational value. This Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary would also enhance heritage tourism within the many coastal communities that have embraced their centuries-long maritime relationship with Lake Michigan, the Great Lakes region and the nation.
Ozaukee, Sheboygan and Fond du Lac counties were a hub of activity during these early years. Sheboygan competed with Milwaukee to become the primary port on Lake Michigan. Fond du Lac served as a transportation hub, bringing resources across Lake Winnebago and farm goods from the interior to the ports along the state’s eastern coast. Plank roads and railroads helped bring these dreams to life.
Our speaker for the evening is Jim Willaert, Curator of Interpretation and Collections at the Wade House Historic Site in Greenbush, Wisconsin. The Wade House is one of 12 historic sites and museums operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Willaert has worked in the history field for more than 25 years. Prior to being at the Wade House, he worked at the Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in Indiana. He holds a Masters Degree in History from Eastern Illinois University.