Michigan Sea Grant

The Evelyn S. was built in 1939 by Sturgeon Bay Boat Works William Selman Fisheries of Manistique, Mich. She fits the typical wooden gill net fish tug design so prevalent on the waters during this period. Measuring 50 feet long with a 13-foot beam, Evelyn S. also boasts a 3-cylinder Kahlenburg diesel engine. To extend the life of the vessel, Evelyn S. was also sheathed in steel with a completely enclosed deck to protect her crew against the frozen waters of Lake Michigan. In 1943, Evelyn S. was sold to a commercial fishing company in Frankfort, Mich. Commercial fishing was part of a thriving diverse maritime economy on Lake Michigan from the 1860s to the 1970s,and the Evelyn S. plied the waters of Lake Michigan bringing in catches that helped make local communities such as South Haven flourish.  She fished until 1952 when she was sold to a Muskegon towing company.  In 1979, the founder of the Michigan Maritime Museum realized the importance of this vessel as an example of a dwindling aspect of the diverse maritime economy and acquired Evelyn S. She soon became a main attraction as an exhibit for the museum in South Haven. After 40 years of serving as a working vessel, Evelyn S. now serves as an educational tool to represent these once common vessels and the important impact they had on local communities.

Michigan Maritime Museum collection


What you can do here

Boat Viewing, School or Group Tours, View Exhibits

More Information
Video exploring the historic commercial fishing era of South Haven, Michigan.
Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail article featuring Evelyn S, written by MSU Extension and Michigan Maritime Museum.
Video documenting restoration of the historic Evelyn S fish tug