Wednesday, February 11, 2015

ISLAND WATERFRONT - Then and Now - Part IV

Washington Island -

Continuing the theme of looking at the Washington Island waterfront as time changed, I've come across photos that interest me, and I hope readers who have a connection to Washington Island are similarly interested.

My personal knowledge, and the photos readily available to me help me to make connections.  Most of these photos center on Detroit Harbor, but there are occasional, interesting side trips to other harbors and piers.   I'll admit these are not placed in a chronological sequence.  Rather, I've followed what piques my interest, and also what pops up that seems to make a connected story or sub-theme.

The photo above, for instance, is a fairly recent one.  I've received aerial photos over the years from pilots (Jack Cornell, Tim Graul and Ed Graf, to name a few) but I believe I took this one seated in the rear seat of an ultralight, behind pilot Butch Gordon, in February 1990.  (If anyone believes I'm wrong, please let me know!)

I was interested in obtaining photos for the book Over and Back (published later that summer), and Butch offered to take me up in his small plane one late afternoon when the sun's angle was low in the sky.  At the island ferry dock as shown above are five ferries, with the C. G. Richter moored on the end of the pier, and the Voyageur moored at the Standard Oil dock's north side.  (Both of those ferries were sold years later.)  At this time, all Hansen Oil product tanks were still in place, and you can see autos parked south of the tanks, in the general area that is now open pavement leading to the new ferry terminal entrance (completed in1996).  The old ferry office on the dock was still painted white, later to become "federal blue."

Eric Bonow,  from Superior, Wisconsin, who enjoys digging into history, especially anything to do with regional maritime activity, visited last week.  In our conversation Eric reminded me how as operators we had to avoid a shoal area located directly astern of where the C. G. Richter is moored.  This shoal wasn't dredged until around the year 2000.   To safely leave the channel and head in to the pier, we used a range consisting of the light pole in line with the old office door.   Then we were assured of staying in deep enough water.  This shallow hump (with about 6-8 feet of water over it) also had to be avoided during ice breaking around the docks -  just one more deterrent that, when eventually removed, was longer thought about.

The relationship of the current ferry dock to the adjacent Standard Oil pier, and to the Island Outpost dock north of that, is clearly shown in this photo, and that's the main reason why I chose to feature it here.

Below is a May 1930 survey of the ferry dock property (the earliest survey I've seen), courtesy of Eric's sleuthing at the Courthouse.   I believe this survey was produced because of an impending sale of land from  Ole Christiansen to Captain William Jepson, who before that sale operated his ferries from the far eastern side of Detroit Harbor.   Ole's marine railway is indicated in the survey.

May 1930 survey of Standard Oil (previously the Cornell Tract)
and Ole Christiansen tracts  (later Wm. Jepson's, then WIFL)
in Detroit Harbor.

In a previous blog, I wrote that Ole was co-owner of a pier in Jackson Harbor, along with Bo Anderson, and a chart and photos Eric passed along show where that pier was located.  The photo is an old postcard, and although its not entirely clear in this version, piled lumber can be seen on shore and an unidentified small sailing vessel is at the pier, presumably loading - year unknown.

Related text reprints from the Advocate newspaper follow:

 Door County Advocate - 2.28.1903:
   The bulk of the Forster Lumber Co. lands have been sold mostly to settlers, the heaviest investors being Bo L. Anderson and Capt. Ole Christianson (sp), who secured about 500 acres.  These gentlemen are now engaged in building a dock inside the east point near the entrance to Jackson Harbor.  The cribs have all been completed and the stringers are now being laid.  There are two gangways to the main structure, which will prevent all backing or turning by teams.  Three vessels will be able to lay at the dock at the same time.  Captain Christianson is superintending the work which is a full guarantee that the structure will be put up in good shape.   The entrance to Jackson Harbor is shallow, so that only light going craft are able to pass in our out.  The owners contemplate removing the bar, which is only a few yards wide. They will likely have a small dredge do this work, although Captain Christianson has told us that he could remove the bar by other means, but at all events it will require a good outlay, but when this obstruction is away, allowing large vessels to load at the dock, it will fully pay for the outlay.  Besides that several of those owning timber lands on the northeast side have expressed their willingness to help pay for the expense in deepening the inlet. The enterprise of Messrs. A & C is sure to have the effect to build up Jackson Harbor.  There are thousands of cords of wood to go over the dock, and shipping is bound to be lively for some time to come.

Jackson Harbor shown on 1922 Lake Survey
Chart.  (Courtesy of Eric Bonow)

Door County Advocate - 7.30.1904:
Capt. Ole Cristianson is and has been engaged in the wood trade between Jackson Harbor and Milwaukee with the schooner Madonna. The Lucy Graham, Capt. Goodletson, is also carrying fuel from the same place to Manitowoc.  She came here on Saturday night for the sixth time so far this year.  The crew report that the yards are filling up rapidly, and the delivery will have to stop soon until more room can be secured.  Although 36 years old the Lucy is as sound as a trivet, having been well taken care of by her owner.  She was built at Sturgeon Bay in the winter of 1868 by the late Capt. Robert Graham, one of the pioneer residents of the county.

Door County Advocate - 12.3.1904:
The portable sawmill for Christianson & Anderson has arrived, and is now being set up.  The firm has enough orders ahead to keep the outfit busy the greater part of the winter.  Strange to say the demand all comes from the islanders, who are rather adverse to sawing their stove wood by the old and laborious method when it can be done by steam in one fraction of the time.  The buck saw is a thing of the past.

Door County Advocate - 3.4.1905
A good deal of cordwood is being banked every working day at Jackson Harbor, and the owners anticipate god prices again for this commodity.  There are two piers over which the wood will be shipped, that of Anderson & Christianson and Ras. Hansen.  The latter, which formerly belonged to Capt. Denio, is undergoing a substantial rebuild this season.

Door County Advocate - 10.10.1907
Rasmus Hansen is steadily improving and developing his Jackson Harbor property which has in late years become one of the most important shipping points in this region. 
The Lucy Graham has been lying at Jackson Harbor for more than a week waiting for a load.  Capt. Goodletson says that wood is getting very scarce in these parts, but he hopes to get in a few more trips before the end of the season.
  Chas. Anderson, Matt Swenson and Ben Jensen are building a structure on the south side of Jackson Harbor to be used for a saw mill, and as soon as it shall be completed the outfit will be removed to that place from the west side of the pond.  Business is pretty lively at that point, as there is considerable wood being banked and carried to market by the schooner Madonna, Capt. Ole Christianson.

Postcard - Jackson Harbor, inside Carlins Point, early 1900s.

After nine more years, the shipment of timber had slowed…and it was around this time the Madonna was abandoned in Detroit Harbor west of Snake Island.   Ole Christianson may have concentrated his efforts from that point forward at his shipyard on Lobdell Point.

Door county Advocate - 4.6.1916:
The Jackson Harbor Mill Co. will begin their spring sawing this week. Lumbering is nearly a thing of the past on the Island, the stock of logs being comparatively small.  But, still we wonder where so many come from.

  - Dick Purinton

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