“My stomach turned seeing this:” Racine’s historic “Palmer” boat encased in foot of ice in Root River

RACINE -- A piece of Racine history has sunk as a historic boat sits submerged in the Root River. It's not yet certain what caused the boat to sink. It happened the day after Christmas -- and then it got cold.

"Palmer" boat encased in ice in Racine

"Palmer" boat encased in ice in Racine

Along the Root River in Racine, the boat is drawing a crowd.

"I've seen this boat in the water my entire life. I can remember coming as a kid, coming down and riding our bikes down here," said Bob Hart.

"Palmer" boat encased in ice in Racine

"Palmer" boat encased in ice in Racine

Bob Hart says the ship has been around longer than he has, which is why he can't believe it's now at the bottom of the river. The historic "Palmer," is encased in a foot of ice.

If you want to know the Palmer's history, just ask Bob Strege.

"Palmer"

"Palmer"

"I made a fairly decent living from it, so I can't complain," said Strege.

"Palmer"

"Palmer"

The retired commercial fisherman owned the boat for roughly three decades.

"Palmer"

"Palmer"

"Built in Sturgeon Bay in 1926," said Strege's daughter, Pamela Gursky.

Strege's daughter has a scrapbook showing the boat's better days. She's wondering how this could happen.

"My stomach literally turned seeing this," said Gursky.

"My thought was negligence; that's what it is," said Strege.

Bob Strege

Bob Strege

The DNR says after the boat sank on December 26th, they have contacted the owner, who has 30 days to get it out. Attempts earlier this week by a salvage company to retrieve the Palmer, failed.

"I give it different ideas on how to get it raised. They don't want to listen to me, so here it sits," said Strege.

palmer-removal-attempt

"Palmer" removal attempt

palmer-removal-attempt2

"Palmer" removal attempt

palmer-removal-attempt3

"Palmer" removal attempt

A former captain and his family look on, hoping someone can save a piece of Racine history.

"I hope it goes into a museum," said Strege.

"Palmer" boat encased in ice in Racine

"Palmer" boat encased in ice in Racine

The Palmer does have a rich history. When the SS Milwaukee sank in 1929, one of the greatest disasters in the Great Lakes history, we are told the Palmer helped look for survivors.

The family really hopes a museum will step in.

FOX6 was unable to reach the boat's current owner on Friday. The DNR says if the boat is not removed in 30 days since it sank, the owner will be handed out a nearly $300 fine per day until it's removed.