In 1915, the ‘Act to Create the U.S. Coast Guard’ was signed, merging the Revenue Cutter Service and U.S. Life Saving Service to form the modern-day Coast Guard. The merging of these two organizations formed a service whose unique capabilities would prove to be invaluable just six month later on the Great Lakes.
For the past 15 years, the annual re-enactment of the original Christmas Ship, Rouse Simmons, by Chicago’s maritime community and the Coast Guard has resurrected a storied tradition dating back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. People have come to know the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw as the modern day Christmas Ship, and some await its arrival the same way people did on the banks of the Chicago River more than 100 years ago.
Loaded with more than 1,300 Christmas trees from northern Michigan, the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw once again served as Chicago’s Christmas Ship, continuing a tradition from the late 1800s in Chicago and resurrected 13 years ago. The original Christmas Ship, the schooner Rousse Simmons, made the same transit down Lake Michigan each year, bringing trees and wreaths to the people of Chicago. Setting up shop along the Chicago River in downtown, Capt. Herman Shuenamann and his crew became a well known and expected group as each Christmas season neared.
Coast Guard response boats from units throughout the Great Lakes and the Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, homeported in Port Huron, Mich., sit moored near Navy Pier before the 2012 NATO summit, May 17, 2012. The Coast Guard is the lead maritime security agency providing support for the event. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer
Crewmembers aboard Coast Guard Cutter Alder, homeported in Duluth, Minn., load pallets of Christmas trees on the shipâ’s buoy deck for delivery to deserving Chicago-area families. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class George Degener. Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class George Degener. With a Christmas tree tied to its mast and lights
Post written by Petty Officer 3rd Class George Degener. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw arrives at Navy Pier carrying more than 1,200 Christmas trees destined for deserving Chicago families. The trees were offloaded by volunteers from groups including the Sea Cadets, Sea Scouts and Young Marines before being distributed to familes selected by the Ada S.
Coast Guard Station Wilmette Harbor is located just north of Chicago. (Coast Guard photo) Coast Guardsmen often find themselves in a position to rescue others. It usually happens on a boat or from the air, but two weeks ago our three Guardians of the Week, Petty Officers 2nd Class Chris Summers and Kevin Ray and
A member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and members of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw help offload Christmas trees at the Navy Pier in downtown Chicago Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. The Coast Guard Cutter Macknaw delivered more than 1,000 Christmas trees from northern Michigan for Chicago-area needy familes in cooperation with the Chicago Christmas Tree