Christmas Tree Ship La Rubida
By James Donahue
The 30-year-old schooner La Rubida was laden with 10,000 Christmas trees, probably bound for her home
port of South Haven, Michigan, when it was driven ashore and wrecked near Naubinway on Lake Michigan, on November 25, 1906.
Naubinway is a small community located on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula near the Wisconsin border.
Captain A. E. Dow and his crew of the 75-foot-long wooden schooner managed to escape to shore in spite
of the bitter cold, and found shelter after spending a terrible night on the beach.
The La Rubida had three masts and didn’t look much like the original ship that sailed the lakes
under the name Jessie Winter for most of those 30 years. When launched at Sheboygan, Wisconsin in 1876, the schooner had two
masts. The third mast was added during a rebuild when the ship was purchased by the Jackson Park Yacht Club in Chicago in
1903. That was when the name was changed to La Rabida.
The vessel was sold to John H. LaBar in South Haven the following year.
The Jessie Winter may have spent its entire time sailing from port to port on Lake Michigan. It had
several owners located in Muskegon, Benton Harbor, and Racine, Wisconsin, and was wrecked off Sheboygan in 1882. The ship
was salvaged that year and rebuilt.