Alaska (1869)
Gallery
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Site Plan of Alaska
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Image of the Alaska wreck site from the air Photo Credit: Suzze Johnson
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Scow schooner Alaska pictured in the forefront of the image at a port along Lake Michigan
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Alaska as seen from the surface of the water
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Archaeologists investigate Alaska's anchor chain and bow
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Alaska's port side and bow (note square shape of scow schooners)
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Alaska's large, wooden windlass half buried in silt
By The Numbers
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Built
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Sank
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Lives Lost
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Depth (ft)
 
 
Final Voyage


While sailing light to pick up a cargo at the lumber pier in Ahnapee (Algoma), Wisconsin on 23 March 1879, Alaska was caught in a gale and pushed ashore north of the Twin Rivers point lighthouse. The crew all escaped the vessel safely, although they were drenched and mildly suffered from exposure. Great efforts were made to free and relaunch the craft, but it ultimately could not be made seaworthy and sank not far from where it stranded. The winter of 1879-1880 was especially harsh and all efforts to save the Alaska failed and the scow schooner was left stranded and abandoned.
Today


Today the scow schooner Alaska lies in five feet of water on the bottom of Lake Michigan, partially covered by sand south off the southern end of Point Beach State Forest. The vessel’s bow, deck machinery, centerboard trunk, some rigging implements, and much of its hull structure, remain intact on the site beneath the shifting sand. The Alaska site was discovered in May 2014 by a ultralight aircraft pilot, Suzze Johnson, when enough of the wreckage was exposed due to sand movement. Given its recent uncovering, the Alaska remains lightly visited by divers, snorkelers, kayakers and boaters. The vessel's stern, and portions of its lower hull and associated debris field are covered by shifting sands.
Service History


Master shipbuilder Smith Neville, Sr., built the Alaska in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in 1869, for the Sheboygan businessman Adolph Hoechner for use in the lumber trade. For the vessel's decade long career, it operated primarily in the Lake Michigan lumber trade.
The Alaska had been bought and sold numerous times and was invovled in a few accidents over her life.

Last Document of Enrollment Surrendered: Milwaukee; June 30, 1881: "Total Loss" (she was actually stranded and abandoned).
 
Map
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