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



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January 2017 Meeting PDF Print E-mail

Underwater Archaeological Society Chicago 

Meeting Minutes

January 25, 2017

President Dean Nolan opened the meeting after Jim Jarecki showed photos of Lake Michigan during the social get-together. Seventeen members and guests were in attendance. Printed minutes were on-line and on the table.

Bud Brain passed away on January 5 at the age of 94. Tom of A&T Recovery showed a video about Bud who had been active in YMCA and a mentor to many divers. At OWU, Bud was featured on the presentation “Someone You Should Know”. He made his own wetsuit, sewing it together. In 2012 he had already been diving for 50 years and had PADI Instructor Diver Card #30. (There are now 39,000.) He showed many divers how to find wrecks. Before sidescan sonar, he would ride a sled behind a boat to look for wrecks. To raise the schooner Alvin Clark in Green Bay, he put cables under it, earning the nickname “Iron Man”. For the last 20 years of his diving career, he assisted A&T Recovery in raising planes. He was present at the opening of Our World Underwater in 1970. UASC is giving a donation to the Chicago Maritime Museum in memory of Bud. A poem by him is on the UASC website.

Treasurer’s report – John Bell said that there is about $10,600 in the treasury, having recently received envelopes for membership. There have been expenses for OWU booth and will be one for the donation.

Illinois Council of Skin and Scuba Divers – Club Appreciation Night will be February 16 at Mr. Beef and Pizza in Elmhurst.

On March 29, the Underwater Competition will be at the Elk Grove Pavilion. If you participate, this will be a chance to check out your equipment before the dive season starts. Tom will be the captain of the team and when he asked for team volunteers, three answered. One needs a snorkel and should bring extra weights in order to stay down in the pool. Tom said he could get a pool ahead of time. Then participants can practice getting in and out of an inner tube as Claire recommended.

Chicago Maritime Museum – The museum received a grant so they now have the funds to hire Ked Fairbank as their executive director. A new program is the Great Rivers Chicago Program which will be the last Saturday of each month. It goal is to find out what people would like to have done for their part of the river. The Friends of the Chicago Portage will meet at the Burr Ridge Park Community Center for the next four months. The third Friday speaker will be Tom Wilkinson about 1850’s travel to Chicago.

Our World Underwater – It will take place February 24-26. Members are needed to sign up to help out at the booth.

Ghost Ships – March 10-11 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the Milwaukee Airport Survey Projects

Car Ferry #2 is now off the list and John Bell just needs to mail a copy to NSA and three copies to libraries. There will be at least ten available for sale at OWU.

12th Street – John Gerty is working on the report for the Nautical Archaeological Society

Tacoma – Bob Rushman said that it has changed since the site map was done. Jim has a copy of it. Tom said he started diving it 45 years after it sunk.

Scott Reimer said that because it is so heavily dived, UASC should make slates for the Straits of Mackinac as we had for the Buccaneer.

Wells Burt – Colin is in charge of the resurvey, but Tom said that when he dived it last spring, there wasn’t much change.

Silver Spray – Johnathan is now back from Scotland. The wreck is very close to the shore and is in danger of being destroyed.

Material Service Barge – It is very much changed. Clear weather will be needed to survey it. Eric’s Wreck – Dave Thompson will be here for a survey in July

Keith Pearson has said that he will assign one dive per weekend all summer long from his boat Double Action.

501C3 status – This will be a UASC goal for this year. Upcoming Events

Possible NAS courses are Photo Mosaicing, Archaeological Illustration, Offshore Navigation and Acoustics. UASC receives its NAS certification through The Wisconsin Underwater Archaeological Association. The seminars can be held here at the CMM.

March 24-26 – Beneath the Sea in New Jersey.

March 25 – Histories and Mysteries in Holland, Michigan

Volunteers are needed for short presentations.

Keith suggested making an ad board to be posted in dive shops saying that UASC needs divers.

Dean said that the site is useful for other clubs since one can post events and have sign- ups. It costs $150 to be on it.

Coming up speakers include A&T Recovery in April, Robert Kurson, author of Shadow Divers in May, Paul Ehorn of Cleveland Underwater Explorers in September. We also may have Dr. Ted Karamanski and Kevin McGee.

Featured Speaker –Ken Schoon, professor at Indiana University Northwest and author of Calumet Beginnings, talked about his book “Shifting Sands—an Indiana Bicentenniel Project”. The reason for this project was that this was one of the most polluted areas in the nation. Since 1970, very polluted areas which flow into Lake Michigan received clean-up funding. The Indiana Dunes have a forest to the east and grasslands in Illinois to the west and both an arctic and desert climate. There was a large peat marsh, but it burned when a ditch was dug and it dried out. This was one of the other three major fires that happened at the same time as the Chicago Fire. The industry which developed here was in the center of an area where iron ore and limestone came from the north and coal from the south. There were no rules against waste in the water or amounts of soot from the smokestacks. Sand was mined as early as the 1850’s and clay for making bricks was dug at Hobart. Before refrigeration was invented, ice was harvested and sent to Chicago. Hunters made weekend trips here. The area was a transportation hub with many Indian trails and Lake County has more railroad tracks than any other area in Indiana. Ken showed a photo of his ancestor standing in a field of his onion crop. A building now stands there.

The development of the area started in 1868 when George Hammond build the first slaughterhouse, then in 1889 John Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Refinery, in 1906 Elbert Gary became president of US Steel and in 1926 Henry Ford built a factory to manufacture airplanes. The Dunes area became a State Park in 1926 with 3,000 acres and 3 miles of shoreline and in 1966 Dorothy Bud and Illinois senator Paul Douglas were instrumental in making it a National Lakeshore. Indiana senators were against it because at the time pollution meant prosperity. Old postcards showed smoke streaming from smokestacks. Now pollution means poor health; an example of a shifting attitude.

Awareness of the problem was seen graphically in a photo from 1967 when a hand which had been dipped into the Grand Calumet River by the Harbor Ship Canal came out totally black. Out of a list of fourteen things which one should be able to do with water, the pollution was so thick that not even one was possible. The Chicago Tribune started the efforts to clean it up. Frank Borman, who in 1968 was the first astronaut in a manned mission, took a picture of the Earth from his spaceship and it is considered the most influential environmental photo ever taken. In 1968, Lynton Keith Caldwell, an Indiana University professor, wrote “A National Policy for the Environment” and in 1969 the National Environmental Policy Act passed which mandated that everything must have public input and the impact on the environment must be figured out beforehand. The Clean Air Act of 1970, the start of EPA and the Clean Water Act followed. In the 1980’s industry became pro-environment, a sign of shifting attitudes.

In 1987, this part of the Calumet River was named the most polluted area in the USA and it is now so clean that salmon are spawning in the harbor. The Hammond slag field became a golf course and the pits where clay was mined are lakes. In the Munster Centennial Park, electricity is generated from gasses emitted by garbage and it is sold. Munster will only sell water to towns if it drains back into Lake Michigan. In the last decade, there is finally enough money to clean the bottoms of the rivers. To do so, they are dredged, the water is tested, the sludge is dried out in burlap bags, a plastic liner is put on the bottom of the river and new fill is put on it. Another shifting attitude is that instead of letting government do it, we can do it. Munster Steel has moved north and Arcelor Mittal Steel Company (in East Chicago) controls sixty per cent of the steel in the world and has forty acres of nature preserve. Michigan City steel plants have cooling towers because the water returned to the lake cannot be more than two degrees warmer than the lake. The most coal is burned by power companies but more money is paid on scrubbing. Ken instituted scuba as a credit course in the university and his book Calumet Beginnings is now in its sixth printing.

The meeting adjourned at 9 pm
Minutes respectfully submitted by Carol Sommers 

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