Author tells story of 1912 shipwreck

Published 11:03 pm Wednesday, December 7, 2011

SOUTH HAVEN – Rochelle Pennington, author of “The Christmas Tree Ship,”  will present the story of this well-known Great Lakes shipwreck at 2 p.m. Saturday as part of the Michigan Maritime Museum’s winter lecture series.

The ship, fully loaded with Christmas trees and heading for Chicago,  went down in the Great Storm of 1912. It is still loaded with its cargo today and is a popular dive site.

“It’s a story which exemplifies the best of humanity,” Pennington said.  “At its heart, we find courage, love, generosity, heroism and the importance of family.”

Signed copies of the book will be available at the museum’s store along with other maritime and seasonal merchandise.
Pennington’s presentation includes many century-old photos of the ship as well as underwater shots with the trees still visible in the cargo area.  She will present many little-known facts surrounding the story, including the ship’s mysterious disappearance, clues  washed ashore in the decades following the vessel’s demise and its discovery in 1971.

She will also present photos of the “new” Christmas ship, which the Coast Guard has been sailing for more than a decade, in memory of the old ship.

Pennington is an award-winning author, newspaper columnist and speaker whose work includes “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” and “Stories for the Heart.”

There is no charge for the the presentation, and cookies and eggnog will be served. Donations are welcomed.

The Michigan Maritime Museum is located at the drawbridge in South Haven. For more information, call (800) 747-3810 or visit