Pageant of Peace, 1975
I Saw Three Ships

The Christmas Ship


Elsie Schuenemann at the wheel of the Christmas Ship, near the Clark Street Bridge on the Chicago River; the boat carried Christmas trees to Chicago from Michigan; her father, Captain H. Schuenemann, died when the Rouse Simmons, ship carrying Christmas trees, sank in 1912 / December 1916 / Chicago Daily News negatives collection, DN-0003451. Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society

"In the early 1900s, Herman Schuenemann was a known vendor in the Marine Christmas tree trade. Capt. Schuenemann had a crew who would cut trees from the northern woods of Michigan, strap them down upon his ship and then set sail for Chicago. Once in port, he would sell the trees off the deck of the sailing vessel Rouse Simmons. Every year, families and their children would gather at the pier and anxiously await the arrival of the "Christmas Ship". On November 23rd, 1912, during a fierce winter storm with his ship covered with ice  Capt. Schuenemann and his crew of seventeen with approximately 5000 fresh-cut trees sank, not far from the shores of Two Rivers Wisconsin." (from The Christmas Ship Story)

Today an organization called Chicago's Christmas Ship, raises money to buy trees and deliver them -- via the Christmas Ship (the US Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw) -- to poor children in Chicago.


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)