Pretoria (ship)

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Pretoria (schooner-barge) Shipwreck Site
Nearest city Bayfield, Wisconsin
Area Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. [2]
Architect Davidson, James
MPS Great Lakes Shipwreck Sites of Wisconsin MPS
NRHP Reference # 94000835 [1]
Added to NRHP August 17, 1994
The Pretoria at dock.

The American ship Pretoria was one of the largest wooden ships ever constructed. The Pretoria was a schooner-barge, and 103 meters (338 ft) long, 13.4 meters (44 ft) wide and 7 meters (23 ft) in depth.

It was a barge built for use on the Great Lakes by James Davidson in West Bay City, Michigan. The Saginaw, Michigan newspaper The Courier-Herald described the Pretoria's launch on July 26, 1900 in the following way:

The schooner Pretoria, the largest wooden boat ever built, was launched at Davidson's shipyard this afternoon, in the presence of a vast multitude.

The Pretoria will carry 5,000 tons of iron ore, 175,000 bushels of wheat, or 300,000 bushels of oats...

To strengthen its wooden frame and hull, the Pretoria included steel keelson plates, steel chords, and steel arches. It was also diagonally strapped with steel. It needed a donkey engine to run a pump to keep its interior dry.

The Pretoria sank in a storm in 1905.[3] The ship was sunk during the same storm which sank another notable ship, the Sevona. Ironically, the Sevona received her cargo load shortly after the Pretoria, at the very same dock in Superior. Both ships would be shipwrecked the very next day near the Apostle Islands, when a legendary gale would send them to the bottom of the lake.[4]


  1. Staff (2006-03-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Great Lakes Shipwrecks". Retrieved 22 July 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Wisconsin's Great Lakes Shipwrecks: Pretoria University of Wisconsin–Madison Sea Grant Institute and Wisconsin Historical Society, 2003
  4. Keller, James H. The Unholy Apostles. pp. 107–112. ISBN 0-933577-001.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>