Barry Butler Photography
It's MOONday! This morning's crescent moon over Chicago Harbor Lighthouse
Chicago’s history and development stem from its axis at the foot of the Great Lakes. Chicago has been the busiest port in the world.
It is a tall order to tell the story of Chicago’s waterways and their emotional and prosperous impact on 19th, 20th and 21st century American growth. Welcome to the Chicago Maritime Museum and our developing story of Chicago’s maritime traditions and impact.
Barry Butler Photography
It's MOONday! This morning's crescent moon over Chicago Harbor Lighthouse
During the 18th and 19th centuries, Chicago evolved from being merely a portage for the fur trade canoes, to the site of an important trading post. Jean Baptist Pont Du Sable, a merchant of mixed African and French parentage, was the first to appreciate the business value of Chicago. By 1779, he had established a successful trading post in cooperation with the Potawatomi Indians, who lived along the North Branch of the Chicago River. Other fur traders followed, and by the 1820s Chicago was the most successful trading area on Lake Michigan.
Loving LaBagh Woods
Some considered LaBagh Woods on the Northwest Side of Chicago a "throwaway" woods. It's near the highway and there's graffiti on the old bridge over the Chic...
Chicago outdoors and coronavirus updates: East Chicago Marina, Kentucky, Willowbrook Wildlife Center
Updates come for travel restrictions to Kentucky, the partial reopening of East Chicago Marina and restrictions on Willowbrook Wildlife Center.
Bridges up, passing the Wabash Ave bridge (1949)
Shipwrecks Visible from Sky Above Lake Michigan due to Crystal Clear Water
Each spring on Lake Michigan, if you're lucky, you'll be able to see shipwrecks due to the incredibly clear springtime waters. Every winter, ice forms on
Northern Mississippi River named most endangered due to recent flooding.
American Rivers says development, crop drainage systems, levees, disparate floodplain management and climate change in general have made the Mississippi River less stable and more prone to flooding.
"Houseboat City is a chapter in the age-old struggle of nomads and urban folk — the faceoff between Romans and Vandal marauders; the conflict between hunters and pioneers on the American frontier.
Periodic skirmishes marked the 20th-century history of Houseboat City, where residents of the Chicago River's North Branch sometimes displeased their neighbors along the shore.
Are we missing a piece of the puzzle? Tell us things you would like hear about Chicago's maritime history. We'd love to hear your story ideas.
Chicago rivers: A discussion on dam removals on the Des Plaines, Fox, DuPage and Chicago rivers
A discussion centered on dam removals on the Des Plaines, Fox, DuPage and Chicago rivers.
The 1918 Spanish flu was not even close to being Chicago’s first bout with fast-spreading disease. Geoffrey Baer looks at how Chicago managed a tidal wave of diseases in its earliest years.
Chicago outdoors and coronavirus: Wisconsin to close 40 sites, updates on Emiquon and Door County
Wisconsin closing 40 state sites leads this update on Chicago outdoors and coronavirus, but there’s also updates at Emiquon Preserve and Wisconsin’s Door County.
Another spring ritual delayed because of the coronavirus: Chicago’s bridge lifts
Bridges going up along the Chicago River to allow the passage of sailboats is a sign of spring in Chicago. But this year the ritual is being delayed, because the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the closure of the city's lakefront.
Thick muskie: Real life, real fishing, real times
Erik Porter caught a muskie "thicker than a snicker" and deals with being a firefighter/paramedic with his known first exposure to COVID-19.
Barry Butler Photography
Tonight's Supermoon finally clears the marine layer clouds and appears over Chicago Harbor Lighthouse.
'Super Pink Moon' rises tonight! Teach your kids about the biggest full moon of 2020
"It will be bright and brilliant and absolutely gorgeous."
Chicago outdoors and coronavirus: Forget that Lake Erie walleye trip for a while
Ohio suspends non-resident hunting and fishing license sales and asks visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days.
The ghosts of Great Lakes
The deaths of nearly a thousand sailors at Great Lakes Naval Training Station in 1918 hold lessons for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Friends of the Chicago River
The river's edge is alive migratory birds including the ones we saw this weekend - juncos, red bellied woodpeckers, ruby crowned kinglets, and yellow rumped warblers - and this beautiful robin in our garden. Share what you've seen with us.
Barry Butler Photography
One of my favorite images was taken on this day last year. Morning reflection of Chicago Harbor and the skyline in the background.
U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste Marie
Maritime commerce is more important now than ever. Over 90% of goods move by sea, including medical supplies and household items vital to combatting the spread of coronavirus. These buoy tenders, on a short logistics stop in St. Ignace, are invaluable to the whole of government response.
📸 Master Chief Babione
Feel free to recreate CMM artifacts!
Hey, what else are you going to do in self-quarantine?
Mariners take extra precautions as Great Lakes shipping season gets underway
More tonnage of cargo moves through the Illinois International Port District than any other port in the Great Lakes.
While the state's stay-at-home order is still in effect, you may not be able to come into the museum however, that does not mean you and your children have to stop learning! We are providing you as a parent, teacher, or maritime enthusiast a new way to expand your knowledge about how our city was discovered via waterways.
In the following guide, you will ﬁnd a short summary of information to help you guide your children or students through the lesson, followed by a lesson plan and additional sources of information you may wish to use with your children or students prior to visiting the Chicago Maritime Museum. Each lesson uses a type of inquiry-based learning which meets Illinois Learning Standards for Social Studies. The ﬁnal lesson is meant to leave your children or students in suspense until their visit!
Click the link to download the full lesson plan and start learning!
What is “maritime”? Understanding the Latin root “mar -“ or a searching into any dictionary will tell you that “maritime” means “a connection to the sea”. As we know in...
Great read. Ice cutters played an important role in WWII.
In April 1943, Evans was assigned to Coast Guard Cutter Northland in the famed Greenland Patrol. Evans sailed on three missions on board Northland, which escorted vessels to Greenland twice, and th…
Looking for something to do during the stay-at-home order? We recommend reading about Great Lakes maritime history.
Red Stacks Over the Horizon by James L. Elliott tells the story of the Goodrich Steamboat Line. For more than seventy-five years passengers were transported from Chicago to lake ports in Wisconsin and Michigan by the Goodrich fleet. Red Stacks Over the Horizon includes more than 150 photographs and illustrations.
This first edition copy was donated to the Chicago Maritime Museum by Jack Hadfield in 2005. Newspaper clippings from the Holland Evening Sentinel and the Chicago Tribune from 1960 and 1961 detailing the dismantling of the Steamer Alabama and the S.S. North American were included inside the cover.
The lakefront is closed, aldermen say
The trail and parks along Lake Michigan, as well as the 606 Trail and the downtown Riverwalk, are off limits to citizens now, one day after Mayor Lightfoot threatened to a shutdown because of people not obeying the governor's shelter in place order.
Chicago lakefront: A pivotal day in the outdoors and COVID-19 in Chicago
Wednesday was a pivotal day for the outdoors and the response to COVID-19 in Chicago
What to do when ordered to stay home? Well-spaced jaunts to the lakefront: ‘It’s like a sanctuary.’
Some runners are participating in virtual events that encourage social distancing. Birders are clocking species from their yards instead of stopping by Montrose Point.
Lake Michigan: Updating Indiana access
Updates, as of Tuesday morning, for accessing Indiana launches for Lake Michigan.
Wolf Lake: The wonders keep coming, walleye come up strong during northern pike survey
Walleye starred during a survey this month of northern pike at Wolf Lake.
DNR waives state park entrance fee amid coronavirus restrictions
The Recreation Passport requirement has been temporarily suspended.
Voyage Through History Benefit Gala Postponed due to COVID-19
The Chicago Maritime Museum has decided to postpone our gala benefit, "Voyage Through History," set for April 30th aboard Columbia Yacht Club's Abby, due to health concerns over COVID-19. We are following advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that there should be no gatherings of 50 people or more during the next eight weeks. Columbia Yacht Club is also following these guidelines.
Despite the scheduled change, our guest speaker Chicago-born Bill Pinkney, has graciously committed to our yet unknown rescheduled date. Bill is the fifth American to sail around the world passing through all five great capes, connecting to Chicago Public School children via satellite throughout his journey.
In addition to Bill’s presentation, you’ll be invited to explore the 372-foot former ice-breaking car ferry, Abby, which has been a part of Chicago’s history, lakefront and skyline since 1983. Club members will provide informative tours of this unique vessel.
Unique sponsorship opportunities for “Voyage Through History” are available online on the Gala Page at chicagomaritimemuseum.org.
Thank you for your understanding. We will reschedule the gala benefit once the situation has clarified and look forward to seeing you there. Until then, stay safe and healthy.
COVID-19? No, high water.
Crews are expected to make the repairs this summer, which are expected to cost $300,000.
Chicago fishing: Updates on access; and catching coho, bass and crappie
Some updates on fishing access (with the IDNR shutdowns in Illinois) come in this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; there’s also spring action going on largemouth bass, coho and crappie.
If you like fishing villages, sea shanties and mystery, check out Blow the Man Down coming to Amazon Prime on March 20.
Welcome to Easter Cove, a salty fishing village on the far reaches of Maine's rocky coast. Grieving the loss of their mother and facing an uncertain future, Mary Beth & Priscilla Connolly cover up a gruesome run-in with a dangerous man. To conceal their crime, the sisters must go deeper into Easter....
Ice shapes economy, identity of Lake Superior’s coastal towns. But it’s disappearing: ‘Culture is defined by how the world around us looks — and now that’s changing’
Lake Superior is one of the fastest warming lakes in the world, which poses a threat to coastal towns that rely on winter tourism.
Kath Thomas: Prairie Conservationist, Lake Michigan Sailor, Long-time CMM Volunteer, Works Land and Sea
When she’s not serving up heaps of gourmet home cooking for family and friends (including at Chicago Maritime Museum events), you might find Kath Thomas in her natural habitat – outside, working to restore Illinois prairie land to its original state. A life-long environmental advocate, Kath recently completed an internship at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, where she collected biomass for 1800 plants planted in 2016 on a research acre to advance knowledge of prairie restoration.
Even at home, Kath practices what she preaches. You won’t find a lawnmower at the Thomas’ Hinsdale home. Instead of grass, hundreds of native plants grow side-by-side in both the front and back yards.
“Why plant grass seed when you can grow beautiful, bio-diverse plants that attract and support multiple species in our local ecosystem,” says Kath, who shows remarkable fluency in Latin plant names. Words like Silphium integrifolium (compass plant) and Carex annectens (yellow fox sedge) roll confidently off her tongue.
Kath has supported the Chicago Maritime Society and now the Chicago Maritime Museum since the organization’s early days in the mid-1980s in a variety of roles, including board member, newsletter editor and events coordinator including the CMM's multi-faceted exhibit at the 2010 Tall Ships Chicago on Navy Pier. She recalls introducing her husband, Dr. Gerald Thomas, to the museum, where he would become the organization’s president (president emeritus and active board member now.)
A long-time active member of the Columbia Yacht Club, Kath has sailed has 18 Mackinac Races, mostly Chicago Macs but also a Bayview and a Super Mac (Chicago to Port Huron), primarily on a Tartan Ten.
“It was a six-person crew and I was always responsible for the chow,” recalls Kath. “The real marathon was getting ready for the race, scheduling, cooking and pre-packing all the meals. But I loved the challenge of the prep work as much as I love sailing.”
In addition to CMM, Kath serves on boards and volunteers with numerous Chicago boating organizations including Columbia Yacht Club, Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing and the Chicago Yachting Association. She was instrumental in the delivery and restoration of the 372-foot Q.S.M.V Abegweit, a former Canadian ice-breaker/car ferry that is now home to Columbia Yacht Club (and the locale for CMM’s first benefit gala on April 30).
Having borne witness and supported the CMM’s many evolutionary phases over the years, Kath is optimistic about the museum’s future.
“It took some time, but I’m confident CMM is now positioned to the enter the museum big leagues,” she says. “With our Bridgeport facility, we’ve presented a clear message about the importance of Chicago’s maritime history in fueling the growth of our city. I’m pumped about the museum’s future, as we look down the road toward outreach and expansion."
If you love Chicago’s maritime history, please help us tell our story. We need docents, data experts, event hosts and so much more. Please call us at 773-376-1982 if you would like to volunteer.
Chicago’s Calumet Wetlands Get A Restoration Boost
A $1-million award will support efforts to restore natural wetlands on the Southeast Side.
Due to concern for the health of our customers and staff we have decided to postpone Yachtapalooza. Announcing Notapalooza - a storerwide sale.
RIP Clive Cussler, author of maritime thrillers.
His literary fantasies and larger-than-life exploits swirled together for decades. He wrote 85 books, selling no fewer than 100 million copies, and located scores of shipwrecks.
Brad Rich out fishing with his buddies in Alaska caught this amazing sight on video. We love his reaction...Check it out at 50 seconds.
Chicago outdoors: Most events a go for Show & Go
Most events around Chicago outdoors are still on for this week in Show & Go.
Will Michigan City become the next New Buffalo?
The Indiana town will regain a mile of shoreline once a power plant goes offline. It's also getting improved train service. Real estate investors see a prime opportunity.
Participants in the Lake Michigan Fisheries Workshop last night at the Chicago Maritime Museum. Attendees learned about Lake Michigan's story map, yellow perch and sucker populations, and trophy salmon and trout in Illinois.
Looking for a cool space for your next workshop? Call us at (773) 376-1982.
1200 West 35th Street, Suite 0E-5010
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