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



October 2017 Minutes PDF Print E-mail

Underwater Archaeological Society Of Chicago

Meeeting Minutes

October 25, 2017


President Dean Nolan greeted 18 members and guests, including a new member Jeanne Sullivan who comes to us from Wisconsin and Lewis Page who is a history student at the U of C and writing a story for South Side Weekly about UASC.

The minutes written by Carol Sommers were approved.

John Bell gave the total in the treasury.  He added that this year most funds went to Double Action to support UASC members doing the survey on the mystery wreck.  Since divers pay UASC a reduced rate, the goal is to break even.

Website – Vice President Colin Bertling said that six wrecks are now described in detail on the website.

Illinois Council of Skin and Scuba Divers – At the Presidents’ Night Dinner, the Chicago Scuba Meet-Up was named Dive Club of the Year and Dean Nolan was named Diver of the Year. Milt and Margie Levenberg of the Tritons dive club won the Arthur P. Swanson Jr. Humanitarian Award.

Chicago Maritime Museum – One thousand visitors came during Open House Chicago. Jim Jarecki also mentioned that there are two buildings worth of canoes to identify at Crowley’s Boatyard.  They need cleaning, measuring and sorting. A good number of canoes that have been hanging in the rafters have already been cleaned and wrapped.  Contact Jim for more information. The third Friday meeting will feature Greg Borzo, author of The Chicago “L” and other books, will talk about his current book on Chicago fountains.

UASC Oct. 24 Planning Meeting for Our World Underwater – One goal is to have a newsletter out before OWU and articles are needed and also photos of divers on the “Mystery Wreck” and of the courses given by Dave Thompson. The ten by ten-foot OWU booth costs twice the price as last year and the convention lasts only two days, Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 10-5 on February 17-18 at the Marriott.  Members are asked to put their names down if interested in manning the booth, even if they don’t know the exact time.  At the planning meeting, new incentives were discussed.  New members could get a free two-tank survey dive, a free slate of the Buccaneer and a choice of a DVD, cookbook or tee-shirt. They would also be entered into a raffle for a half-day boat charter.

Jim Gentile needs a blurb promoting UASC and which can send out through his mailing list.

Several members will attend the Oct. 28 Wisconsin Underwater Archaeology and Maritime History in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Duluth, MN meeting on the Gales of November is more about history than shipwrecks.

The survey dives on the “Mystery Wreck” are wrapped up for the year. Research is being done to find out what type of boat it is and maybe its identity.

Jim Jarecki gave the slate of officers for next year as it stands so far: President- Dean Nolan, Vice President – Colin Bertling, Treasurer – John Bell and Secretary – Carol Sommers.  Nominations are open if anyone else would like to run.

Ghost Ships – It is not certain if it will take place.  Tom said that OWU is our local show and since he has experience from working with boat shows for forty years will help with hints and training in salesmanship for booth volunteers.  Steve Arnam volunteered to give a presentation on UASC work on wrecks at OWU which can be done on both days. Jim Jarecki and John Bell were suggested as also being great presenters. Jeanne Sullivan, our new member, who is experienced in promoting via Facebook, volunteered to help out. She also suggested a “call to action” making joining UASC like a campaign.  “Come dive with us to help us out on the “Mystery Wreck”. She also suggested a pre-show fund-raising campaign.

501c3 – Dean said that we need to be more serious about it.

UASC Holiday Party –  It will be a potluck party like last year and will be on Sunday, January 14 at 5pm at Carol Sommers home, 1558 N. Hoyne Ave., Chicago, IL 60622. Bring your favorite dish.  Street parking is free except on Pierce from Hoyne to Damen and on North Avenue which is metered.

Feature Presentation: Tony Kiefer gave the history of the Zion Mystery Shipwreck which UASC had as a project in 2000. UASC spent two dive seasons sketching it on slates and making a photo mosaic. Weeks of research including checking air photos and visiting Great Lakes Museum and Library and the Waukegan Historical Society resulted in the conclusion that a hundred-foot-long boat named Big Ben was originally a WWI member of the “Splinter Fleet”, which was a group of sub-chasers. The Chicago Tribune ran a story on it.  It eventually was sold and in 1934 was put as a breakwater for homes on Zion beach. The homes are now gone and the shore was washed away.  Less than half of the wreck on Zion beach is left after 17 years and the bow is gone. Tony then showed us the enlarged photo and photomosaic of the boat.

Post-presentation – Photos were shown of ships which are now wrecks: the Welles Burt, the Solon Johnson, the Wisconsin, the Lady Elgin and the Materials Service Barge. A movie was made of the reenactment of the theft of items from the Welles Burt; there still is a reward offered for information leading to those responsible.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Carol Sommers.


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