By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 12, 2014 at 10:15 AM

By now everyone knows that Discovery World has strong ties to groundbreaking musician Les Paul, but few remember Pete Seeger’s link to that lakefront institution.

In 2001, Seeger – who passed away Jan. 27 at the age of 94 – wrote an ode to the S/V Denis Sullivan.

In a handwritten copy of the lyrics – reportedly in Seeger’s own hand – the song, called "The Schooner Denis Sullivan," is credited to "Paul Kaplan, Sara Pirtle, Tom Baldino, Pete Seeger, Mark Kempner and several others."

"He wasn't really interested in credit, so he made sure that plenty of others were listed as contributors, as well," says Discovery World President and CEO Joel Brennan.

"I knew that he sent a few dollars to the Sullivan a few times over the years, but it was a welcome revelation that we will always have this connection to him. This is a pretty cool Milwaukee connection to legendary figure."

Long-time Discovery World staff member Jeff Phillips explained a bit of the backstory in an email.

"This is the song that Pete Seeger wrote for the Denis Sullivan on April, 19, 2001," Phillips writes. "The Sullivan had been heading back to Milwaukee after winter programming in Florida and Bahamas. He met us at the 79th Street Dock in New York City."

"Pete also came to visit in the late 1990s – along with (his wife) Toshi – and spent the day with us singing songs and encouraging the then-building of the Denis Sullivan. Pete had been involved with sloop Clearwater in Beacon, N.Y. We had used their model of on the water education to develop our LakeWatch program."

Milwaukee’s own David HB Drake recorded the song for his CD, "A Schooner Songbag: Songs of the S/V Denis Sullivan." You can order the disc and hear a bit of the song here.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.