Our Four Lakes: Their Legends Sites and Secrets chronicles the history of the waterways in Dane County, Wisconsin from

prehistoric times, through early settlement to the modern era. It describes the industry and commerce that relied on the lakes and rivers, including ice harvesting and steamboat transportation.

This third edition includes over 40 historical photos, new stories and underwater images. A guide for scuba divers, this

book contains maps and descriptions of 40 dive sites on all Four Lakes of the Yahara chain.

The book retails for $25.

It is available on Amazon.com at: Our Four Lakes


This project has been underway in southern Door County WI for over five years, where WUAA has been progressively investigating several “Ghost Ports,” that were once thriving shipping sites that have almost escaped the historical record. Immediately after the Civil War, Clay Banks Township developed such prolific logging and sawmilling operations that several active commercial ports sprang up and constructed enormous shipping piers that stretched over 1,500 feet out into the lake.  These lengthy docks were essential to reach deep water and to avoid the many dangerous reefs and submerged boulders in the area.  Over the years, at least 12 shipwrecks occurred at these docks or in nearby waters, but few of these have been found or studied.  When the logging boom was over, these “Ghost Ports” and their piers vanished into oblivion and no above-water remnants remain today. These “boom towns” came and went so quickly that few official records have survived; many documents were also lost in horrific forest fires that swept the area in the 1870s. 

WUAA has conducted extensive land transaction research, which has helped to isolate the location of these old pier sites and some of the shipwrecks. Sections of certain intact piers have been located which are today submerged. These underwater skeletons should allow us to determine how these lengthy docks were originally built, since virtually no construction information on them exists. Our current objectives are to confirm all documented pier locations, and then locate, survey and map the associated shipwrecks.  The garnered information from these investigations may allow us to reconstruct much of the history of these lost “Ghost Ports” and subsequently publish relevant information.

This project is NOT conducted on a conventional format where WUAA schedules and supervises research dives.  Rather, it is a self-directed project, where individual dive teams or small expeditions can schedule their own trips, directed or guided by the Field Manual WUAA has developed for this project. This multi-paged booklet details the various sites requiring study, how find them (including GPS data), landowner information, and suggested tasks to undertake. Hardcopies of the latest revised Field Manual (2011) are available via the WUAA website.


This publication tells the story of Fireboat 23 from it launching in 1897 until it was taken out and sunk in 1923 to be forgotten until 2005 when Jerry Guyer discovered the wreck in about 70 feet of Lake Michigan water. Included are the results of the 3 seasons that were required to do the underwater archeology performed by the volunteer divers from WUAA and the GLSRF.

The Norlond sailed under various names during its sailing career. In November of 1922, she started leaking and the crew was unable to save their vessel.  The underwater archeology that is included in this publication was completed by volunteer divers from WUAA and the GLSRF. 

A Pirate Roams Lake Michigan: The Dan Seavey Story

By Dr. Richard Boyd

In the maritime history of the Great Lakes, only one lake captain was ever arrested by federal authorities for piracy. That mariner was Captain Daniel W. Seavey, who frequently prowled upper Green Bay, but also wandered far and wide across Lake Michigan where his raucous exploits and pugnacious nature became legendary. His most infamous deed was the theft of the schooner Nellie Johnson in 1908, which led to a lengthy pursuit up Lake Michigan by a federal gunboat, hot on Seavey’s trail.  

Seavey has occasionally been the subject of “short story” articles that briefly described some of his misadventures, but this essay is the first in-depth look into his life and background, examining how he became known throughout the region as “Dan the Pirate.” The book provides many new, well-documented insights into the escapades of this roguish seaman, whose biography reflects the very definition of piracy itself. The text is generously supplemented with many interesting newspaper excerpts and photographs that highlight Seavey’s nefarious activities.