Great Lakes Marine Collection-MPL/WMHS
Soundings - The Newsletter of
the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society

A quarterly publication of the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society, Soundings began its life under the inauspicious generic name of "Newsletter" in October 1959. Six months later its flag was changed to Soundings.

Its purpose is to promote the interests of the Society – to discover, collect, record, disseminate and preserve the material related to the history of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway with a special emphasis on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, the Upper Mississippi River System as well as the rivers and lakes within Wisconsin.

Included within the pages of Soundings are records of shipwrecks, nautical charts, diving discoveries, lighthouses, and vessels.

Over the years many members of the Society have written articles on interesting facets of maritime history they researched using the organization’s extensive archives.

Sample Soundings

Milwaukee's Second Bridge War

By John Buellesbach

At a time when the Dionne quintuplets were making history and federal agents were chasing John Dillinger around the Midwest, in Milwaukee, a ship's captain and the city attorney captured headlines. Because of a strike, vessels were forced to navigate Milwaukee's rivers and its bridges without tugboats. This snarled traffic and disrupted rail service.

Photo courtesy of MPL/WMHS Marine Collection
Coal yards along Milwaukee river north of Holton St. (ca. 1930).

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Index to Soundings Articles from 1959 to 2017

More than 14,000 articles on vessels, wrecks, diving, lighthouses, harbors, marine works, and many other marine-related activities and events have been chronicled in Soundings since its beginning in 1959. Numerous photographs, graphics and charts are included with the articles.

Here’s how to search the Soundings’ archive:

Search for names of vessels, dates, persons' names, cities, states and geographic areas. Volume and issue numbers and publication dates are also searchable (Volume 1 Number 1).

If you are not a member of the Wisconsin Marine Historical, only issues in the current year are available.

For more information or to request a copy of an article that appeared in Soundings, contact Suzette Lopez, WMHS Executive Director, or by phone (414) 286-3074.

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