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



July Meeting Minutes PDF Print E-mail

Underwater Archeological Society of Chicago

July 29, 2015 Minutes

Bob Rushman welcomed twenty-five members and guests at the Bridgeport Arts Center.

CPR certificates are available for those who participated.

Illinois Council of Skin and Scuba Divers

The President's Day Dinner will be on October 24 at the same location as last year, Klaus Restaurant, 5734 W. 22nd. St., in Cicero. Tickets are $34. See Claire Gadbois or Bob Rushman for tickets. Pumpkin carving will be October 4 at Haigh Quarry. Submissions are needed for diver and club of the year. The Greenwood Beach Clean-Up will be the third Saturday of September at 9 am. The Council will provide food and we will snorkel out to the Morley.

Survey Updates

  • Solon Johnson--One week ago, the sand was out of the hull and one could see more of the propeller. The survey is almost finished.
  • Tacoma-Bob and Claire Gadbois were unable to go out due to a problem with a boat motor and will go out this coming Saturday to photograph and video it and the Materials Service Barge.
  • Eric's Wreck-Keith Pearson says his divers are turning up "trinkets". There are very heavy beams on the 150 foot long wreck which is 70 feet deep.
  • Dawes-There is very little change since the 1980's.
  • Buccaneer-Bob Rushman just dived it. The top structure over the back deck is missing and Bob has videoed the exterior and interior where the murals are still intact. The skull and crossbones are still on the smokestack.
  • Wells Burt-Tom noticed that there were no zebra mussels, just piles of their shells in the hold and around the wreck. Apparently, the gobies on the wreck eat the young mussels and as a result they do not become old enough to reproduce.

Member News

  • John Bell used his sidescan and visited known wrecks and a new one for him which he found out is called Scuba Two. Jim saw a tug with no propellor, but having a large 4 1/2 foot flywheel.
  • Keith says that the visibility will be good and if there are no charters, he he’ll send an e-mail if there is a boat available this weekend.
  • Dean Nolan announced that the trip on the Denis Sullivan, the replica of a three-masted schooner in Milwaukee will be a weekend in September.
  • Jim Jarecki said that we may need to find a different meeting place for the September meeting since the floor is going to be refinished in the Maritime Museum.
  • Bud Brain offered prose written by him about a wreck diver "The Marked Man". Bob Gadbois read it aloud and it is attached to these minutes.


UASC member, architect, historian, former National Trust assistant director and program advisor to Main Street communities Tom Lutz presented: The Lost Story Behind the Founding of Chicago's Greatest World's Fair. A detailed handout was given to all present and some interesting facts follow;

Illinois Central Railroad had wanted the fair to be downtown which would give them rights to all the land afterwards. Petitions by Chicagoans resulted in the Jackson Park location and the lakefront and harbor were preserved for the city. James Durham, Chicago's maritime leader, had worked extensively designing the fair but lost an uncontested bid for the boat transportation by a last minute bid from Rockefeller. 1892 marked the building of world's first Ferris wheel and the first major use of electricity in the US which was polyphase AC by Westinghouse and Tesla. Ships included a stationary 1893 warship, Viking ship, reconstructions of Columbus' Nina, Santa Maria and Pinta and gondolas piloted by Venetian gondoliers. All the buildings in the "Great White City" were white stucco with the exception of Louis Sullivan's red brick transportation building. Unfortunately, other than the Science and Industry Museum (the former Fine Arts Building), the buildings were allowed to deteriorate and many burned because money was not made available from the city to preserve them although many Chicagoans wanted them to be. Big ship traffic in Chicago was discouraged by Yerkes who refused to build lower tunnels under the Chicago River to provide the correct 20 foot draft depth. The tunnels were built in 1910 after his death. Sealed structures were sunk into a ditch dug in the bottom of the river and the depth was lowered by eight feet. Theodore Caspar Lutz--who is Tom' grandfather's first cousin--formed the Culbert & Lutz Construction Company whose 500 employees built pilings, docks, foundations, reflecting pools and part of the Grand Lagoon. The casino breakwater is located where the casino pier was. James Durham commissioned the largest steam tug on the lake in 1896 and the eventual Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company in Chicago founded by Lutz (who only finished grade school) became the largest marine construction company in the USA and is now the fourth largest in the world. They built Navy Pier, Wacker Drive, Soldier Field and the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Tom has published a book about his famous relative, T.C. Lutz.

The next meeting is August 26 with a possibility of learning how to survey. The meeting was adjourned at 9pm.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Carol Sommers

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