The entire Door County community is invited to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the historic tug John Purves at 11am on Wednesday, May 1,2019 at the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay. The event will include the US Army Color Guard, the national anthem sung by Southern Door High School sophomore Brianna Partyka, birthday cake and more. Built in 1919 as the Butterfield, the John Purves has been painstakingly restored by a dedicated crew of volunteers and donors.

Speakers at the May 1st event will include Museum Board of Directors Vice-President Terry Connelly; Purves volunteer Paul Graf; Museum Executive Director Kevin Osgood; and other invited guests. The tugboat will be outfitted with celebratory flags and bunting, including a 48-star United States flag, representing the nation as it existed when the tug was first launched.

In 1919, the tugboat Butterfield was constructed in Elizabeth, NJ at a length of 149 feet and beam of 27.7 feet. The Butterfield served the US Army during World War II from 1942 to 1945 with the designation LT-145, supplying garrisons in the Aleutian Islands. Captain John Roen of Sturgeon Bay purchased the tug in 1956 and renamed it John Purves in honor of his good friend and the long-time General Manager of the Roen Steamship Company.

The John Purves was donated to the Door County Maritime Museum in 2003. Restoration of the tug took five and one half years, over 30,000 volunteer hours and almost $1 Million in cash donations. Since opening as a floating exhibit at the Door County Maritime Museum in 2008, the John Purves has hosted more than 54,000 visitors for tours.

The Museum will celebrate the historic tugboat throughout 2019, including a limited number of special Nuts & Bolts tours. These smaller group tours give guests a chance to learn greater detail about life aboard the tug and see some areas of the historic tugboat not seen on standard tours. Tickets can be purchased on

The Purves will receive recognition during Maritime Week in August. One session of the Maritime Speaker Series in the fall will be a panel discussion of the history of the tugboat. In November, the Maritime Museum will celebrate the service of LT-145 with a special Veteran’s Day rechristening event.

For more information about the tugboat John Purves and the year of celebrations, visit