OBJECT HISTORY: Lifesaving Medal

All along WisconsinÔÇÖs 820 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, storms could mean the difference between profit and financial ruin, survival and terrifying death. This┬álifesaving medal┬áreminds us of the┬árisks┬áthat sailors and WisconsinÔÇÖs maritime communities have routinely faced┬ásince the early 19th century, and it documents the personal bravery, dedication, and ingenuity of┬áthose who would rescue their fellows…

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Early Lifesaving Stations in Wisconsin

A Slow Beginning As maritime commerce grew in the early 19th century, the loss of vessels and crews to shipwreck increased. In 1848, the federal government, through the United States Revenue Marine, established its first lifesaving stations along the New Jersey coast. The…

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The Wreck of the Tanner

The Wrecked VesselThe┬áTanner┬áwas a barque, or three-masted ship, whose foremast was square-rigged and whose main-and mizzenmasts were fore-and-aft rigged. It measured 156.38 feet long by 31.75 feet in breadth.┬áThe ship was built in 1863┬áby the Milwaukee shipbuilding firm Ellsworth & Davidson and…

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Read more about the article The Rescuers of the Tanner
Lifesaving Service crew, about 1910. This image, which was taken by Milwaukee photographer J. Robert Taylor, likely shows the crew of the Milwaukee station. Wisconsin Historical Society Image ID 55832.

The Rescuers of the Tanner

On September 10, 1875, six rescue boat volunteers were dispatched to aid the crew of the┬áTanner, a cargo ship foundering in Milwaukee Harbor after being struck by a powerful storm. All six of the rescue boat volunteers ÔÇô but not the captain…

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