Next Meeting: Wednesday, February 28th

The UASC meets the last Wednesday of each month at the Chicago Maritime Museum located at 1200 West 35th Street, Suite OE5010, Chicago, IL 60609. Free event, ALL ARE WELCOME. Refreshments 6:30, Business 7:00, Speaker 8:00.


Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago



January 2015 Minutes PDF Print E-mail

Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago

Meeting Minutes 28 January 2015


Approximately 30 members and guests met at 7:00 pm at the Chicago Maritime Museum located in the Bridgeport Arts center, 35th at Racine, Chicago

Board and Committee Reports

  • President - Robert Rushman welcomed us.
  • Vice President and Treasurer-not present due to travel.
  • Secretary - Carol Sommers. No formal minutes on our last two meetings since one was the Christmas Tree Schooner play and dinner and the other the Christmas party where we ate, drank and enjoyed photos and videos presented by members.

Business Meeting

  • New attendees Ross_Rhone and Mark Tenpas were introduced.
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources - There is no progress on the Illinois heritage area plan to protect wrecks with buoys and plaques because of cuts in government funding.
  • ICSSD - There will be a club appreciation night on February 19 with free pizza and soda at Mr. Beef and Pizza in Mount Prospect. Keith Pamper with the Shedd Aquarium will be features speaker. This is a chance for officers to tell ICSSD what they are interested in having as projects or programs. A present project is having riptide current posters put on all boat docks and handouts given to lifeguards. On Sunday, March 22 at the Elk Grove Pavilion there will be the ISCCD Underwater Competition with events such as an underwater tricycle race. See for more information.
  • Survey Projects - We are trying to collect all past data on survey projects to consolidate it. We want to catalog and list it and not lose it. Send whatever you have to Bob Rushman.
  • Wreck Checker - A poster or display needs to be made for the booth at Our World Underwater. See John Gerty.
  • Railway Exhibit- Sam Polonetzky said that in early July a display area 25' X 4' which can be on both interior sides of a railway car will be available for artwork and a picture type exhibit about the Car Ferry #2 wreck. Input and help is needed from members on what they want in the exhibit. Contact Sam Polonetzky.
  • Coming Events -
  • February 27- March 1, Our World Underwater. We will have a double booth set-up. Members should research when they can help out and e-mail or phone Bob Rushman.
  • March 7, Great Lakes Shipwreck Festiva, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • March 13-14, Ghost Ship Festival, Milwaukee
  • March 21, Mysteries Histories Beneath the Inland Seas, Holland, Michigan
  • April 18, Chicago Maritime Festival, Old Town School of Folk Music
  • Website - John Bell said it now will be easy for multiple people to contribute articles. He will make some of us authors (Jim and Carol to start) to allow us to create articles which will then be approved by the publisher who will submit it. Bill Messner added that a key to get people to visit the website frequently is to change some content weekly. One idea is to have a member research headlines (for example from and post an interesting link on our website each week. Steve Arnam said that a source for young people for the club and website are the students at Schurz High School who have taken the Discover Scuba Program through Columbia College. The contact is Deanna Hotchner. Our Facebook page also needs items posted. The new website is off the agenda because it would only do 5 pages and we have 900 on our site.
  • Logo and Flag - Carol Sommers presented 3 logo designs and one was approved which has the initials UASA positioned on an anchor. Members gave input on a flag design which will include the logo, a wreck and 4 divers who show what UASC members do underwater--measure, document and photograph the wreck. The logo will be displayed at OWU and once the design is approved, a flag will be made which can be draped over the front of the display booth. The flag design will be posted on the website for your approval and comments to be received by February 7 so that it can be made by Carol in time for the show.
  • Speakers - Needed! Jim Jarecki has been doing all the work; let's all help out. Some ideas for winter and spring events are:
  • a course on shipwreck research techniques-- see Scott
  • a First Aid or CPR course. DAN will send an instructor free--see Chet
  • diver emergency management planning
  • short presentations by members, for example the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Iowa--see Bob Gadbois
  • Special Presentation - John Bell presented Bob Rushman with the president's sweatshirt which is signed by past presidents and their year (s) of service and passed on from president to president.
  • The next meeting is February 25 and the speaker is TBA.

Featured Speaker: Katie Dishman, archivist at the National Archives at Chicago

Topic: Emerging from the depths: Maritime-related resources at the National Archives

In a comprehensive power point presentation, copies of which were given to all attendees, Katie explained that the archives here in Chicago have original material from the Midwest, but that there also are microfilms of those in Washington, D.C. She then gave us some hints as to how to research wrecks. They are:

  • Be as specific as possible when searching since some records overlap. You should know the approximate size and location of the ship.

  • Records of the following groups are best for wreck research: Customs Service (group 36), Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (41), the Office of the Chief of Engineers (77), the U.S. Coast Guard (26) and the US. District Courts (21). The admiralty court cases will provide the most information for us. It is possible to read an exact deposition by a captain and ship and crew information.

We saw the records for the Christmas Tree Ship and found out that vessel logs frequently were written as a poem on January first. Many records are written in longhand. Since the staff is very small, it's best to send an e-mail of records you are interested in and they can then give you a date and will be better prepared to help you. Records can be photographed with a digital camera and/or flat-bed scanner. Volunteers are needed; right now, there are 36 boxes needing to be processed. More information is at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Minutes respectfully submitted by Carol Sommers

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