Advance (1871)
Site Plan of barge Advance
starboard side keelspn structure and lower hull
starboard side of hull, fasteners connecting lower hull to bustle
coiled wire rope located in the starboard stern of the Advance site
By The Numbers
Lives Lost
Depth (ft)
Service History

The Advance was built in 1871 by Master Shipbuilder Captain Alvin A. turner in his shipyard in Trenton, Michigan. She was 141 feet long, 28.7 feet at the beam and 11.5 feet depth of hold. The Advance was a schooner-barge purposely built to be towed, yet contained 2 masts that allowed her to power under sail if the need arose. The Advance had primarily been a lumber barge in tow of the tug Boscobel for the Peshtigo Lumber Company charged with carrying lumber from Peshtigo to Chicago and returning with various goods to be sold at the Peshtigo grocery. In March of 1898 the Advance was purchased by the Leathen & Smith Towing and Wrecking Company of Door County for use in transporting stone from the Company's quarry. In the winter of 1910 she was lengthened 2 feet, widened 10 feet, her masts were removed, and she was re-enrolled as a tow barge. Subsequently, her owners equipped her with derricks, a clam shell bucket, salvage equipment, and diving equipment and made her into a lighter for their wrecking operations.
Final Voyage

The Advance was being used by the L.D. Smith Dock Co. to lighten the load of the steel steamer, Frank Billings, which had stranded 3 miles southwest of Sherwood Point, Door County, Wis. While some 7,000 tons of coal were being transferred to the lighter, a strong northwest wind forced the salvage tug to abandon both the Advance and the Billings. Soon the Advance began leaking badly, and the captain wisely cut the lighter free so that she would go aground rather than founder. The 5 crewmen aboard the lighter Advance were rescued by the Coast Guard just before she hit the rocky point of Sand Bay. Three days later, the Billings was released and went on its way, but the Advance was abandoned where she lay. Her derricks, wrecking pump, and some 60 tons of coal were salvaged by a small scow and the gasoline freighter . No insurance was carried on the lighter Advance.

Today the shipwreck Advance lies in eight feet of water in Sand Bay. 560 feet off the eastern shore of Sand Bay Penninsula, on the Green Bay side of Door County. The lower hull of the vessel is extant with her keelson structure and centerboard trunk rising to six feet below the surface of the water. All of the Advance'supper deck is gone along with the majority of her hull, yet the turn of the bilge can be see on the starboard side of the wreck. A 40 foot long section of the hull is located approximately 75 feet to the east of the wreck site.
Confirmed Location     Unconfirmed location
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