I attended the ceremony honoring the schooner Rouse Simmons, Chicago’s Christmas Tree Ship at a frigid Navy Pier this morning. For twenty years, the Rouse Simmons brought Christmas trees to Chicago from the northern forests. She docked in the Chicago River and the crew sold the trees from her decks. She met an unfortunate fate, sinking with all hands in a storm off Two Rivers, Wisconsin on November 23, 1912.

Today, the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw brings Christmas trees for donation to underprivileged families in Chicago. After she docks, a solemn ceremony takes place in memory of the Rouse Simmons. Here is a slideshow of today’s event.