Pilot Island Site

Pilot Island Site (HMPNY)

Location: Ellison Bay, WI 54210 Door County
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Country: United States of America
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N 45° 17.423', W 86° 58.654'

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Historic Shipwrecks

— Wisconsin's Maritime Trails —

J.E. Gilmore · Type: wooden schooner · Built: 1867, Asa Wilcox, · Three Mile Bay, N.Y. · Length: 137.7' · Beam: 25.4' · Propulsion: sail, 2 masted.

Forest · Type: wooden scow-schooner · Built: 1857, David Lester, · Newport, Mich. / rebuilt 1880 · Length: 87.5' / rebuilt 115.6' · Beam: 22.25' / rebuilt 23' · Propulsion: sail, 2 masted / rebuilt 3 masted.

A.P. Nichols · Type: wooden schooner · Built: 1861, Bailey Brothers, · Madison Dock, Ohio · Length: 145' · Beam: 30' · Propulsion: sail, 3 masted.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992
Depth: 20 ~ 50'
Location: NW side of Pilot Island, a seasonal mooring buoy marks the site.

On the night of Oct. 28, 1891, the Forest entered Death's Door en route from Chicago to Nahma, Mich. A gale struck and drove the schooner onto the reef at Pilot Island. The next day, the crew of five rowed to shore and took refuge at the lighthouse. The following fall the dangerous passage wrecked two more ships at the same spot. On Oct. 17, the Gilmore, sailing from Chicago to Elk Rapids, Mich., entered the passage in heavy, shifting winds and was blown onto the reef. The crew waited out the storm on board. On Oct. 28, fierce winds and blinding snow struck the Nichols on its way from Chicago to Escanaba, Mich. The storm tore apart the Nichols' rigging and drove her onto the rocks near the Gilmore and Forest. In a daring rescue, the lighthouse crew helped the sailors leap from the rolling Nichols onto the icy deck of the Forest to reach Pilot Island.

The wrath of Death's Door battered the three stranded schooners for several years, scattering pieces in all directions. The tangled wreckage now allows divers to visit three victims of Death's Door in a single dive.

Through the Maritime Trails, the Wisconsin Historical Society and Wisconsin Sea Grant are working with local communities to preserve our maritime heritage. To learn more, visit www.maririmetrails.org.
Series This marker is part of the Wisconsin: Wisconsin's Maritime Trails series
Year Placed2002
Placed ByThe Wisconsin Historical Society's Maritime Preservation and Archaeology Program
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 11th, 2014 at 11:18am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 501759 N 5015209
Decimal Degrees45.29038333, -86.97756667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 45° 17.423', W 86° 58.654'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds45° 17' 25.38" N, 86° 58' 39.24" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)920
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 215 WI-42, Ellison Bay WI 54210, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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