Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Book Review: The Historic Christmas Tree Ship

The Historic Christmas Tree Ship: A True Story of Faith, Hope and Love by Rochelle M. Pennington

Captain Herman Schuenemann became affectionately known as "Captain Santa" for his yearly voyage from Michigan's Upper Peninsula to Chicago with a load of freshly cut Christmas trees. Families would wait anxiously at the docks for their choice of the best Christmas trees. The Captain's last voyage was in 1912 when the ship was unable to withstand the gales of the Great Lakes and went down off the coast of Two Rivers, Wisconsin. After the death of their beloved husband and father, the Captain's wife and three daughters continued to bring evergreens into Chicago for another twenty years.

Rochelle Pennington gives life to this Christmas legend and tradition. Using resources from various maritime museums of the Great Lakes, historical society archives, and newspaper articles, the tale of the Schuenemann family remains a beloved piece of Great Lakes history and holiday spirit.

Also, check out a children's version titled The Christmas Tree Ship: The Story of Captain Santa. Both are available to check out from Wisconsin's Water Library. Send an email to Ask water to have either book sent directly to you.

Pennington is a freelance author and newspaper columnist from Wisconsin. Illustrations by artist Charles Vickery. Vickery is best known for his renditions of the sea, its coastlines, ports and majestic sailing vessels.