Christmas Tree Schooners are ships that used to ply the Great Lakes from the Great North Woods to Chicago carrying trees for the holidays. One such ship was the Rouse Simmons that sank in November 1912 off of Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Trees were sold in Chicago at the dockside near the Clark Street Bridge. The skipper, "Captain Santa" Herman Schuenemann, also gave trees to the poor.
A musical play written by John Reeger called The Christmas Schooner retells this story. The play has been playing for a dozen years and is becoming a holiday classic in the Windy City. This year the play has move to Munster, Indiana, where they hope to keep the tradition alive. Here is a story about the play at the Northwest Indiana Times.