Chicago, USA. 2nd Dec, 2017. The US Coast Guard and youth volunteers unload 1,200 Christmas trees from the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw at Navy Pier. The annual reenactment pays tribute to the past when trees were brought in and sold from sailing schooners and to Chicago's best known Christmas Ship, the Rouse Simmons, which transported trees from Michigan for over 30 years until the ship sank in a storm on it's run in 1912. Chicago's boating community has reenacted the event annually since 2000, with a Great Lakes USCG cutter serving as the Christmas Ship. Credit: D Guest Smith/Alamy Live News

- Image ID: KKXEX3
Chicago, USA. 2nd Dec, 2017. The US Coast Guard and youth volunteers unload 1,200 Christmas trees from the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw at Navy Pier. The annual reenactment pays tribute to the past when trees were brought in and sold from sailing schooners and to Chicago's best known Christmas Ship, the Rouse Simmons, which transported trees from Michigan for over 30 years until the ship sank in a storm on it's run in 1912. Chicago's boating community has reenacted the event annually since 2000, with a Great Lakes USCG cutter serving as the Christmas Ship. Credit: D Guest Smith/Alamy Live News
D Guest Smith / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: KKXEX3
The USCG cutter Mackinaw, commissioned in 2006, has operated as Chicago's Christmas Ship starting in 2011. Prior to that her predecessor by the same name or the USCG cutter Alder filled the role. Transporting Christmas trees by ship from upper Wisconsin and Michigan was an annual event and a risky one at the turn of the 19th Century. Weather conditions were hazardous with severe storms a regular occurrence in November and December on the Great Lakes. Profit margins were low so Christmas Ships typically were old wooden sailing schooners that were overloaded, making them top heavy and more subject to dangerous icing. The schooner Rouse Simmons is the most famous but far from the only Christmas ship and crew lost on the Great Lakes transporting trees south for the holidays.
Location: Polk Bros Park, East Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL, United States

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