Members of the Chicago Maritime Society have collected their best writings, photographs, and artifacts to share the tales of the waterways of a city that was established astride a primary portage linking the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River system. Chicago's maritime history speaks of heroes and vagabonds, romance and commerce, technology and craftsmanship, lighthouses and shipwrecks, industrial giants and back-breaking labor, wartime vigilance and peacetime leisure, resource extraction and modern conservation, and change and tradition. Welcome to the Port of ChicagoMaritime history speaks of heroes and vagabonds, romance and commerce, lighthouses and shipwrecks, industrialists and back-breaking labor, wartime vigilance and peacetime leisure, resource extraction and modern conservation. But not necessarily of the sea! Established astride a primary portage linking the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River system, Chicago has an overlooked maritime story that comprises all this and more.In 1673, the French-Canadian voyageur Louis Jolliet was the first to notice the potential utility of the place that was to become Chicago when he paddled through the area on his way home to Montreal toward the end of his voyage of discovery with Jacques Marquette. The American Indian nations who had inhabited the area, the Illiniwek and Wea, as well as the Potawatomi, who were soon to live there, knew the place as a canoe portage between the Mississippi and St. Lawrence rivers' watersheds, but they considered Checagou too marshy for permanent settlements. Neither group had any way of knowing that within two centuries, the sluggish Chicago River would become one of the busiest ports in the world and the city that arose on its banks would become one of the largest on the continent--the transportation center of the North American interior.Let members of The Chicago Maritime Society take you into this lively world and guide you through the passages of Chicago's waterway history with this collection of their best writings, photos, and artifacts.
The Chicago Maritime Society celebrates the men and women who built, crewed, loaded, and unloaded the ships used on Chicago's waterways for enjoyment and recreation. They built Chicago into the world-class port city that it is today.The Chicago Maritime Society, established in 1982 by a group of historians, educators, and civic-minded individuals, is committed to creating a world-class maritime museum for Chicago. CMS seeks to increase public awareness of Chicago's uniquely important maritime past through public exhibits and programs. The organization's rich variety of educational presentations include seminars for historians and educators, lectures for the general public, publications, and exhibits of maritime artifacts and images at various locations throughout the Chicago area. Society membership is open to anyone, and particularly those with an interest in the history and continuing maritime concerns of Chicago, the Great Lakes, and the region's inland waterways.To date, the Chicago Maritime Society has amassed a very large collection of vessels, maritime artifacts, manuscripts, movies, and photographs pertinent to its mission. They are currently reviewing and planning a suitable location and configuration for a museum.