The next presentation of the Door County Medical Center Maritime Speaker Series will be held on Thursday, November 7th, and will feature Door County Maritime Museum (DCMM) volunteers talking about “The 100-Year History of the Tug John Purves.” Built in 1919, the John Purves has been painstakingly restored by a dedicated crew of volunteers and donors.

The Door County Medical Center Maritime Speaker Series programs are held the first Thursday of each month, October through May, beginning at 7pm. The Maritime Speaker Series is held in the Reddin Bridge Room at the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay, 120 North Madison Avenue. Admission is free of charge with a suggested non-perishable food donation.

The guest speakers on November 7th will host a panel discussion covering the storied history behind the tugboat. 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 60,000 visitors for tours. The Maritime Museum will celebrate the service of LT-145 with a special Veteran’s Day social media “rechristening” event.

The Door County Medical Center Maritime Speaker Series offers an assortment of monthly programs dealing with everything from historical topics to current issues affecting the Great Lakes and the economy that relies on them. Additional support for the Door County Medical Center Maritime Speaker Series is provided by Foremost Resorts, The Lodge at Leathem Smith, Westwood Shores and the Sister Bay Bowl.

The remaining schedule of presenters for the 2019-2020 Door County Medical Center Maritime Speaker Series include Museum volunteers and staff, historians, authors, and marine engineers:

  • December 5 – Paul Kuenn: “What it Means to be a Friend of Plum and Pilot Island”
  • January 9 – Dan Lemere: “The ABCs of ABS and the Winter Fleet”
  • February 6 – Dr. Don Mikulic: “The Ledge, the Lake, and the Limestone”
  • March 5 – Curator Rhys Kuzdas: “Built for Battle: Sturgeon Bay and World War II”
  • April 2 – Dan Heibler: “Myths and Mysteries: Legends and Lore of our Great Lakes”
  • May 7 – Wes Oleszewski: “World War II & The Great Lakes”