A Long History
In 1939, the Sturgeon Bay Boat Works built the Evelyn S
for William Seliman Fisheries of Manistique, Michigan. A typical wooden gill net fish tug design prevalent during this period, the tug was sheathed in steel as protection against winter ice. In 1943, a commercial fishing company in Frankfort, Michigan, purchased the tug and operated it until 1952 when it was sold to the Muskegon Towing Company. In 1979, the Michigan Maritime Museum realized the importance of this vessel as an example of a dwindling aspect of the diverse maritime economy and acquired Evelyn S
for an on-water exhibit. After 40 years of serving as a working vessel, Evelyn S
became an educational tool.
Commercial fishing was part of a thriving diverse maritime economy on Lake Michigan from the 1860s to the 1970s. For nearly 40 years, Evelyn S
plied the waters of Lake Michigan and brought in the catch that made local communities like South Haven flourish.
exhibits the diverse use of vessels through time to fit the needs of a changing world. From commercial fishing, to maritime trade, to cultural heritage, the tug continues to share the stories of the people who worked, learned, and played upon its deck.
exhibits the technologies used for commercial fishing on the Lakes. From the Kahlenburg engine and mechanical equipment used for gill nets, to the steel sheathing and enclosed deck to protect the crew against the weather, the tug exemplifies vessels that represented a once thriving industry and our reliance on it.
Thank you - Restoration of the Evelyn S
In the early 1980s, Evelyn S
was restored by the Museum as a land-based exhibit after sinking at the dock. A grant from Michigan Coastal Zone Management Program, Office of the Department of Environmental Quality to the City of South Haven and the Michigan Maritime Museum, coupled with an equal match provided by local organizations, allowed for a more complete restoration in 2015. Evelyn S
now resides in this permanent home on the Museum campus.
Labor of Love
Great Lakes Boat Building School graduate Hans Wagner conducted much of the restoration of the woodwork, which included removing a large portion of the dry rot. Museum staff, interns, and many volunteers sanded, painted, and helped make the tug watertight.
The Michigan Maritime Museum offers our most heartfelt thanks to Michigan Coastal Zone Management and the following people and organizations for making this project possible:
· Cottage Home · Giesler Family of All Seasons Marine · Advantage Tree Service · City of South Haven · deBest · Excel! Concrete Service · GC Detailing · Jensen's Excavating · Lakeshore Paint & Glass · Mitchell & Morse Land Surveying · Plaggemars Construction · Ridgewood Home Construction · Servinsky Engineering · TNT Roofing · Wolters Electric · Zeeland Lumber & Supply
People, Fish, & Fishing
Ecologically, economically and recreationally valuable, Great Lakes fisheries have supported people and communities for generations. The Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail looks at the past, present and future of the lakes through the lens of fish and fishing.
Great Lakes fisheries heritage is the story of how we relate to aquatic ecosystems, biodiversity, water quality and environmental change. The fishery is the thread running through all of these, and serves as a gauge of resource sustainability and quality of life across our Great Lakes coastal communities.
Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail sites include museums, coastal fishing communities, fish markets and processing facilities, and research and science centers throughout Michigan. These offer residents and visitors unique opportunities to explore the dynamic social, technological and environmental changes that have shaped today's fisheries.
Lake Michigan Commercial Fishing Vessels Over Time
Industry Innovations and Evolution
Fishing from Shore
The Great Lakes Gill Net Tug
Modern Trawling Boats
Trap Net Boats
Pound-Netting (or Pond Netting)
Great Lakes, Great Fish, Great Food