ad

Photo by Charles Sterba / Great Lakes Marine Collection-MPL/WMHS

The tug Nathan S., built in 1962 and owned by Calumet River Fleeting, steams out of the fog in 2017
at the Port of Milwaukee ahead of the Flevoborg, an ocean-going bulk carrier launched in 2009 that
sails for Royal Wagenborg (Dutch). The Flevoborg was inbound to take on grain at the Nidera
elevator. Loaded, she headed through the St. Lawrence Seaway for Northern Ireland.

__________

A WMHS Founder and St. Lawrence Seaway
Development Leader Will Be Honored Jan. 27

The Wisconsin Marine Historical Society will pay tribute to the memory and legacy of Harry C. Brockel, who was a founder of the organization, at its annual meeting Jan. 27. He helped establish the Society in 1959.

Brockel served as Milwaukee's Port Director from 1942 to 1968. After retiring, he joined the faculty of the Center for Great Lakes Studies at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee.

Carl Eisenberg, WMHS President, will recognize Brockel's contributions to the Port of Milwaukee, his leadership in the development of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and his part in forming WMHS, which now has one of the largest maritime archives in the Midwest.

Brockel died in 1981 at age 73.

The Annual Meeting and Founders' Auction will be held at the South Shore Yacht Club, 2300 E. Nock St., Milwaukee.

Doors open at 5 p.m. when silent bidding on auction items begins. The auction raises money to sustain the Society's work of making maritime history available to the public. Members and others are encouraged to donate items and services for auction.

Dinner is at 7 p.m., followed by a brief annual report and the featured speaker at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $40.00 per person. A choice of trout with honey butter or black angus filet will be served. Dinner will be completed with chocolate tuxedo cake.

Reservations must be made by Friday, January 19. Along with your choice of entree, please send your checks payable to the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53233.

Please call (414) 286-3074 with any questions.

__________

Expert on Great Lakes Shipping,
Harry Brockel Recalled as Charming and Erudite

By Kathie Uttech Gordon

After agreeing to write this remembrance of Harry, it occurred to me how much I didn't know about all of his accomplishments. I met Harry several years after he retired as Director of the Port of Milwaukee, when he joined the faculty of the Center for Great Lakes Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I was tasked to be Harry’s secretarial support whenever he was on campus. What transpired over the next several years was an education for me and a friendship that continued with Harry and his daughter for many years.

Harry regaled me with tales of growing up in Milwaukee—how as a young man he and his friends formed a walking club, hiking for miles throughout the city, stating “my calves were muscled hard as rock” from all that walking. He reminisced about summers swimming near the North Avenue dam at Caesar’s Park pool. He talked about a kinder, gentler time in our world. I had the impression that Harry was a bit of a throw-back to that era.

Fitzgerald, Dowling, BrockelFitzgerald, Dowling, Brockel

Photo by Charles Sterba / Great Lakes Marine Collection-MPL/WMHS

The first evening meeting of the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society was held at the Schlitz Brown Bottle April 15, 1959. From left, Edmund Fitzgerald, chairman of the St. Lawrence Seaway Celebration Committee; guest speaker Rev. Edward Dowling, S.J., a Great Lakes maritime historian; and Harry Brockel, Milwaukee Port Director.

One would have to have lived under a rock not to know that he was the former Milwau-kee Port Director, but I also learned that he had been one of the leaders in developing the St. Lawrence Seaway and was held in high esteem for his expertise on Great Lakes shipping and maritime and port development matters.

What was impressive was that Harry was truly a self-made man, having no formal education beyond high school. He simply started as a clerk in the office of the Milwaukee Harbor Commission at the age of 17 and then diligently educated himself for a successful career in local government.

Harry was a many-faceted man: well-read, well-rounded. He could arrange a confer-ence with leaders of countries and corporations and carry the event off with finesse. His connections were endless.

Brockel, center, and Bellrichard, right

Great Lakes Marine Collection-MPL/WMHS

Harry Brockel (center) is pictured with John Steele (left), a widely known Great Lakes diver, and Gordon Kent Bellrichard (right), a Milwaukee diver who discovered the wreck of the Rouse Simmons, the three-masted schooner known as the Christmas tree ship, that disappeared off Two Rivers, Wis., in 1912.

If you were fortunate enough to lunch with him at one of Milwaukee's finer restaurants, you were in for a gastronomic treat and would no doubt meet several of the city’s elite or in-crowd. Harry knew everyone and everyone knew him.

Harry was erudite and had a charming demeanor. My days working as his secretary ended in early 1978 when I left the university to start my family. But our friendship continued as he invited my husband and me to join the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society, of which he is one of the founders.

In researching this article, I opened a book on port planning and development that he and Professor Eric Schenker had edited in 1974. The book is a collection of papers from a conference held at UWM in 1973. It brought back memories of having helped pull that conference together and how masterfully he handled creating this important event. Working for Harry was an education for which I will always be thankful.

Kathie Uttech Gordon, former Administrative Secretary to the Director of the Center for Great Lake Studies, UW-Milwaukee, is now Marketing Coordinator for the Port Washington Historical Society and Assistant Director of the 1860 Light Station in Port Washington. Kathie and her husband, Todd, live in Grafton, Wis.

__________

Photographer of Tall Ship Denis Sullivan to Chronicle
Schooner's Construction and Rebirth of Discovery World

Photographer and author Christopher Winters will put "wind in the rigging" at the Society's Annual Meeting and Founders' Auction Jan 27 when he describes the building of the Denis Sullivan and the rebirth of Discovery World.

Chris is the staff photographer at Discovery World museum and, as he says, has been the "official unofficial" photographer of Wisconsin's tall flagship sailing vessel, the Denis Sullivan, for nearly 25 years. He is the recipient of the 2017 Great Lakes Historian of the Year award from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.

Photo Courtesy of Christopher Winters

Christopher Winters, photographer for Discovery World.

The Annual Meeting and Founders' Auction will be held Saturday, Jan. 27, at the South Shore Yacht Club, 2300 E. Nock St., Milwaukee.

Doors open at 5 p.m. when silent bidding on auction items begins. The auction raises money to sustain the Society's work of making maritime history available to the public. Members and others are encouraged to donate items and services for auction.

Dinner is at 7 p.m., followed by a brief annual report and the featured speaker at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $40.00 per person. A choice of trout with honey butter or black angus filet will be served. Dinner will be completed with chocolate tuxedo cake.

Reservations must be made by Friday, January 19. Along with your choice of entree, please send your checks payable to the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53233.

Please call (414) 286-3074 with any questions.

Chris' recent book, Schooner Days, The Story of Wisconsin's Flagship and the Rebirth of Discovery World, was co-authored with Frank L. Steeves, who led the development of the Denis Sullivan and was co-chairman with philanthropist Michael Cudahy of the new Discovery World maritime museum and education center at Milwaukee's Pier Wisconsin. The pier is the homeport of the ship.

Launched in 2000, the vessel was the first tall ship built in Wisconsin in over one hundred years, according to the book. Its design reflects that of the schooner Moonlight. Built in 1874, it was captained by Denis Sullivan, the book reports. The Moonlight sank in Lake Superior off Ashland County during a storm in 1903.

Captivated at a young age with the legends and stories of the Edmund Fitzgerald wreck, Chris became interested in shipwreck diving and a life-long student of Great Lakes maritime history. He is a member of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society and an associate member of the International Shipmaster's Association.

The Steamship Historical Society of America presented Chris with the C. Bradford Mitchell award in 2010 for his book, Centennial, Steaming Through the American Century, which documents life aboard the Great Lakes steamboat SS St. Marys Challenger as she approached the 100th anniversary of her 1906 maiden voyage.

With Bruce Lynn, Chris co-authored The Legend Lives On SS Edmund Fitzgerald, an account of the wreck of the ore carrier. The freighter sank in 1975 in Lake Superior.

__________

Underwater Photographer and Maritime Artist
to Talk at Christmas Tree Ship Dinner Dec. 14

An internationally known underwater photographer and artist is the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society's speaker at its annual Christmas Tree Ship Dinner Dec. 14.

He is award-winning photographer and diver Cal Kothrade, who spent the last decade shooting pictures of shipwrecks in all of the Great Lakes, as well as in the eastern, southern and western Caribbean Sea, the Pacific Ocean off British Columbia, and on the Atlantic Sea coast.

Photo Courtesy of Cal Kothrade

Cal Kothrade in full gear

Cal will describe his travels, diving equipment, camera gear, skills and training needed to capture images of eerily beautiful wrecks that lay at the bottom of the Great Lakes. He will recount what it takes to safely dive into icy water and bring back his stunning images of historic shipwrecks. He will also share personal travel stories with close friends in search of diving adventures.

The program will be held at the Milwaukee Yacht Club, 1700 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee. Check-in and cocktails start at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and the featured program at 8 p.m. The dinner menu and ticket price will be announced later. The event is open to the public.

Cal's work has been shown on magazine covers, published in books and periodicals and displayed on television. He specializes in shipwreck mosaic photography, digital renderings and fine art maritime paintings.

He is a board trustee of the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society, a member of the Wisconsin Underwater Archaeological Society, and is active in various clubs and groups devoted to diving and underwater photography. His images are available for purchase through his websites: Milwaukee Dive Apparel and Calsworld

Please call (414) 286-3074 with any questions.

Photo by Steve Wimer II; Courtesy of Cal Kothrade

Cal Kothrade is shown filming the Sweepstake May 30, 2017. The schooner, built in 1867 in Ontario, sank at Big
Tub Harbour in Lake Huron's Georgian Bay in 1885.