Contact: Kara O’Keeffe

Manitowoc, Wis. – The Wisconsin Historical Society placed the Arctic Shipwreck (Vicinity of Manitowoc, Manitowoc County) on the State Register of Historic Places.

The Arctic, built in 1881, and sunk in 1930, is a tug that seems to straddle the two tug categories: harbor tug and lake tug. Although its construction identifies it as a harbor tug, unique to this vessel is that, historic documentation indicates that the strong hull construction of the Arctic allowed for participation in tasks set for wrecking tugs. Historic documents indicate that the Arctic participated in tasks designated for both harbor and lake tugs. Whether this suggests that the Arctic was a hybrid harbor tug-lake tug vessel, or that the Arctic was built unusually strong for a harbor tug, or that the strength of the Arctic that allowed her to serve as both a harbor and lake tug was not unusual at the time – the answers to these questions are unknown because we simply do not have the comparative data from historic period Wisconsin harbor tugs. These are questions future archaeological study may answer.

State laws protect this shipwreck. Divers may not remove artifacts or structure when visiting this site. Removing, defacing, displacing, or destroying artifacts or sites, is a crime. More information on Wisconsin’s historic shipwrecks may be found by visiting Wisconsin’s Great Lakes Shipwrecks website.

The State Register is Wisconsin’s official list of state properties determined to be significant to Wisconsin’s heritage. The State Historic Preservation Office at the Wisconsin Historical Society administers both the State Register and National Register in Wisconsin.

To learn more about the State and National Register programs in Wisconsin visit

About Wisconsin Historical Society
The Wisconsin Historical Society, founded in 1846, ranks as one of the largest, most active and most diversified state historical societies in the nation. As both a state agency and a private membership organization, its mission is to help people connect to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing stories. The Wisconsin Historical Society serves millions of people every year through a wide range of sites, programs and services. For more information, visit

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