Lucia A. Simpson (1875)
Scroll Down
By The Numbers
Lives Lost
Depth (ft)
Service History

The three masted Lucia A. Simpson was one of the last schooners to ply Lake Michigan. She was the sister ship of the schooner Our Son. The Simpson was built in Manitowoc in 1875 by Rand & Burger shipyard, she had been considered one of the fastest around. Her official registry number was 140097. The Simpson started her career hauling various cargoes on all the Great Lakes. She then spent 27 years hauling lumber from upper Michigan ports. She was purchased by a West Allis diver and fitted out with salvage and diving equipment to do wreck salvage work on Lake Superior.

After barely surviving a difficult storm in 1929 where the aging hull and rigging took a terrible beating, she was towed by the ferry Ann Arbor No.7 to the Kewaunee harbor to recaulk her seams to stop the leaks and then towed to the shipyards in Sturgeon Bay for extensive repairs. But, the owners decided the repair costs to be too great and her salvage equipment and machinery were removed and she was dismantled. In 1931 to 1935 she was owned by the Town Harbor Yacht Club of Chicago (who was the last documented owner, 1935), but was still stored at the Sturgeon bay Ship Building Company. Originally, she was to be towed to Chicago in the downtown harbor to become the headquarters for the new yacht club, this never happened undoubtedly due to her deteriorated condition. In 1934, the Manitowoc Marine Museum considered purchasing the Simpson, but this never happened.

A model of the Lucia A. Simpson and Joys Brothers plans drawn by WPA during the 1930's are located in the Historic American Merchant Marine Survey; project #6 of the Works Progress Administration, May 1936 to October 1937.

On her final voyage in 1929, the Lucia A. Simpson was the last fully rigged schooner on Lake Michigan.
Final Voyage

On December 3, 1935 a fire swept thru the Sturgeon Bay Shipbuilding and Drydock Company totally destroying the Lucia A. Simpson, Beaver, Petosky, Swift, E.G. Crosby and partially damaging the Waukegan and Kenosha. The fire started from a welding torch used on the Crosby. None of the ships were insured.
Confirmed Location     Unconfirmed location
© 2024 - Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Historical Society