End of the Line: Analysis of Economic Changes and its Effects on the Red Line Schooner Fleet of Northeastern Michigan

Author: Donald La Barre

La Barre, Donald, 2017 End of the Line: Analysis of Economic Changes and its Effects on the Red Line Schooner Fleet of Northeastern Michigan, Flinders University, School of Humanities and Creative Arts

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Abstract

Watercraft abandonment studies enhance scholars’ interpretations of human responses to economic and technological changes throughout a maritime community’s lifetime by investigating the motivations and steps in which an owner intentionally abandons a ship. This thesis reviews and investigates the Northeastern Michigan, USA lumber industry and assesses the factors that led to the abandonment of the schooners near Whitefish Point. Understanding the complete historical context of these vessels and the surrounding region adds to the identification of economic and cultural worth assigned by people to vessels during and after their role as merchant vessels. Scholars can gain a richer knowledge of a site’s significance by acknowledging the fluidity of an abandoned vessel’s pre- and post-abandonment status (salvage, reconstruction, decoration). This study serves as a case study for the interpretation of other abandoned sites, which typically are not studied, in marine sanctuaries and marine communities in the United States. Abandonment studies are becoming more prominent in the field of maritime archaeology, but they have yet to be thoroughly acknowledged as significant within the Great Lakes region. Through the use of archival and archaeological research, this thesis interprets the underwater remains not as static vestiges of the past, rather as evidence of a changing economy and the continual use of such vessels as resources. By putting aside previous understandings of ship site assemblages as static sites, a greater understanding and connection to the involved communities is garnered.

Keywords: Great Lakes, USA, Michigan, Northern Michigan, Gilchrist, Lumber Industry, Alpena, Lake Huron, Maritime, Archaeology, Watercraft Abandonment, Knight Templar, Lightguard, White Pine Era, Midwest, Economic impact, Lumber shipping, Maritime Trade, abandon, Fletcher, Frank Gilchrist, Isaacson Bay, Whitefish Bay
Subject: Archaeology thesis, Humanities thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2017
School: School of Humanities and Creative Arts
Supervisor: Dr Wendy Van Duivenvoorde