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



May 2017 Minutes PDF Print E-mail

Underwater Archaeological Society Of Chicago

Meeting Minutes

May 31, 2017

President Dean Nolan welcomed a group of around 30 people.

Secretary Carol Sommers was not present and Colin Bertling recorded the minutes.

Treasurer John Bell stated that there is just under $10,000 in the budget.

Illinois Council Of Skin & Scuba Divers- Jim Haigh Memorial Dive is July 16. The Greenwood beach cleanup dive is September 17. This is also the location from which shore diving to the Morley wreck is accessible. The Presidents night banquet will be on October 21, at Macks Golden Pheasant. Tickets will be available for purchase soon.

Chicago Maritime Museum - This past 3rd Friday there were 140 attendees. Dr. Ann Keating will be speaking about her new book, "Rising Up From Indian Country: The Battle Of Fort Dearborn & The Birth Of Chicago" at the June 3rd Friday open house program.

We have a need for members to give short presentations before our main speakers at our monthly meetings. Please let Jim Jarecki know what you would like to present on. It does not have to be long.

Dean has made a call to begin re-start our newsletter, The Wreck Checker. New content is needed. Possible entries could consist of reviews of our meetings, discussions of our objectives, news of local and great lakes shipwrecks, etc.

Through Double Action Dive Charters, we have a great opportunity to get active all summer long! We will be diving on Sundays, as Double Action has allowed us their boats at a discount for underwater archaeological dives. If you are looking to get out, this is your chance! Help us pull tape and measure wrecks, photograph artifacts, identify features and characteristics of ships. Help us identify, research, and discover!

Nautical Archaeological Society - Dave Thompson will be diving with us on July 29 &30.

Member Presentation - Content was submitted by Albert Portelli. This month we watched video footage that documented the history of the USS Massachusetts (BB-2). Her keel was played on June 25, 1891. She was commissioned by the navy on June 10th, 1896. the battleship propelled 32 officers and 441 enlisted men. As part of the North Atlantic Squadron, she taught the navy lots of valuable lessons, she was coal burning, decommissioned in 1919, she was scuttled by the navy outside the bay of Pensacola, FL. 100 rounds of artillery fire sunk her as she was sent out and used as target practice. In 1990, the shipwreck became the 4th shipwreck preserve in Florida. 100 years after her launching she was dedicated as an underwater preserve.

Keith Pearson spoke and gave a short presentation on his research into what the Mystery ship (aka Val's wreck/Erik's wreck) could be. He spoke about the locomotive named the Pioneer and how it was brought to Chicago by boat. An article from Oct. 8th, 1848 stated that the Pioneer was delivered to Chicago, perhaps on the ship Buffalo. There are many ships named Buffalo and more research is needed to identify possible ships that operated in that time on the great lakes that could transport locomotives. Keith spoke on the features of the mystery wreck, and research that he has done trying to identify her. Interesting features of the wreck include; a squared off back end which is an unusual feature. Also, huge sister keelsons and cross beams point to its ability to carry very heavy cargo. Initial objectives that we need to consider when diving on the wreck are; to measure the length and width, identify the hulls structure, locate and measure/record artifacts on or around the wreck site, etc. During WWII, the Chicago river was full of sunken wrecks. the military had to clear the way for transportation of military equipment from the great lakes through the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico. Is this possibly a wreck that was re-launched and scuttled to clear the river? Military records would bring insight and should be considered in the research. We need to make a site drawing, find out the type of vessel she is, take video, create a complete photo mosaic, and create illustrations of her artifacts. Dive, describe, & record the artifacts so that we may bring more insight as to the features of the wreck.

Featured Speaker - Robert Kurson gave a thrilling presentation that highlighted two of his books, and his experiences when writing them, Pirate Hunters & Shadow Divers. Pirate hunters being his more recent book on the search for the pirate ship- The Golden Fleece, thru a partnership between John Chatterton & John Mattera. Located near the oldest city in the new world, Santo Domingo, the pirate ship was headed by a respectable English captain turned pirate named Joseph Bannister. Pirate ships were run like a true democracy, with everyone having a vote on where to go, what ships to plunder, even on removing the captain. The lowliest deckhand and captain had the same say in any matter. Robert Kurson shared that his motivation to write shadow divers came when he couldn't figure out why john Chatterton and Richie Kohler would risk so much to identify a U-boat. He said that, "these men were showing me what a person does when they have a chance to find out who they really are, when they can't lie about it" Robert Kurson is currently working on a book on the Apollo 8 mission. Robert Kurson was kind enough to bring some free copies of the book Pirate Hunters.

The meeting was adjourned around 9:30pm

Minutes submitted by Colin Bertling

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