Ships 2

La Rubida

Ships 3

La Rubida

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.