2013 Chicago Maritime Festival Presenters
The River That Flows Backwards with Mark Mitchell
Chicago grew up as a city not so much because of its proximity to Lake Michigan, but because it straddled a river that connected the Great Lakes to the Mississippi. Though that waterway was the key to Chicago’s commercial prosperity, it was also the source of its gradual poisoning. In a wonder of 19th century engineering, the Chicago River was made to flow backwards; but this was only after the city had already straightened out its course. What began as an internationally famous feat of environmental manipulation was also the beginning of the world’s first environmental protection movement, as well as the source of American environmental law. Though no longer the main mercantile artery, the Chicago River continues to evolve and even once threatened to destroy the city it created. This is its story.
An expert in maritime history and admiralty law, Mark Mitchell directs the Chicago Yacht Club Foundation’s Maritime Education Program, which aims to increase knowledge and appreciation for the nautical arts in the Chicagoland community and beyond. When he is not giving presentations on naval science or writing about the history of life at sea, Mitchell is general counsel for the Chicago-China Resources Group.
Rebel Raiders on Northern Waters: Confederate Great Lakes Schemes with Dr. Ted Karmanski
While the great battles of the Civil War were largely fought in the South the Great Lakes region was featured in several attempts by the Confederate secret service to disrupt the Union war effort. Through historic images of the people and places involved this presentation will tell the story of piracy, secret agents, and bold plans foiled.
Theodore J. Karamanski is Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago. He is author of seven books on Midwestern history including Schooner Passage: Sailing Ships and the Lake Michigan Frontier (2000), Maritime Chicago (2002), and North Woods River: The St. Croix in Upper Midwest History (2009).
Sligo: Working History of a 3-Masted Schooner on Lake Superior in the1880s with Bill Skrepichuk and Peter Skrepichuk
Discover the working history of the schooner Sligo servicing the construction efforts of the Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR) in 1876 and 1883-84, hauling machinery, rails and iron, timber, coal, and food supplies and carrying the first load of bulk grain from Fort William from the first elevator on the Kam River in May of 1885. The sandstone she carried from Vert Island in Nepigon Bay to Chicago in 1883 and 1884 was used in masonry work on many buildings including the original skyscrapers of the “Windy City” such as the Home Insurance Bldg at the corner of LaSalle and Adams.
Bill Skrepichuk was born in Fort William, Ontario in 1949 and is currently engaged in animating Great Lakes history by combining the talents of a semi-retired Professional Engineer with a rich knowledge of the Canadian North Shore of Lake Superior. His son and co-presenter, Peter Skrepichuk, is studying Architectural History at the University of Toronto and has a strong knowledge of sandstone construction in Chicago pre-1900.
Retrospective: Centennial Commemoration of the Schooner Rouse Simmons with Chet Childs, Don Doherty and Fred Neuschel
Nov. 23, 2012 was the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Lake Michigan schooner Rouse Simmons and the loss of her 17 crew members. The sinking of a wooden lake vessel and loss of crew may not be especially significant in the annals of the Great Lakes. What is significant is that we are still talking about this particular vessel and her crew. Part of the reason is that the captain, Herman Schuenemann, lived in Chicago. Also, the crew brought Christmas trees to Chicago for sale from the deck of the ship at the Clark Street Bridge on the Chicago River. Many ships brought trees to Chicago over the later decades of the 19th century, but the Rouse Simmons was still plying the lake after all the other ships ceased to exist. And trees were given away to needy families, churches and schools across Chicago. Join them in remembrance of an historic ship and her crew.
Over time, Childs and Doherty have co-presented with noted historians and along with the United States Coast Guard and Chicago singers and actors at the 100th Commemoration of the Rouse Simmons held on Nov. 30, 2012 also at the Chicago History Museum. They are both past presidents of the Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago. They have participated in the discovery, documentation and presentation concerning many submerged 19th century wooden vessels on the bottomland of Lake Michigan.
Fred Neuschel is the author of the book Lives and Legends of the Christmas Tree Ships. He was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, and lives with his wife, Sue, in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Fred received his Master of Divinity degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School and has worked for thirty years in mental health chaplaincy and counseling. His previous historical work has been published in Inland Seas, Voyageur, Chicago History, and Wisconsin Magazine of History.
Tall Ship Photography: A Viewfinder’s Look at the Past and the Present with Matthew Maples
Maples will present a side-by-side comparison of his modern tall ship photography with photographs taken in the historic past. Join him for a look that will reveal not only aspects of the ships that have changed over time, but also the many similarities and traditions that continue to this very day.
Matthew Maples has sailed as a deckhand for several years aboard the tall ships Picton Castle, Brig Niagara, and Europa. With a background in photojournalism, Matthew has taken thousands of images documenting his time aboard the vessels. His website, highlighting a small sample of his work, can be found at www.mattmaples.com.
History Over the Horizon XI with Kris Habermehl
Kris Habermehl is the voice of Chopper 2 HD on CBS TV (Channel 2). He can also be heard during weekday rush hours on sister station WBBM NewsRadio 780AM and 105.9FM, reporting on traffic and spot news events. A lifelong Chicagoan, Kris has been observing and reporting news for more than two decades. A winner of five regional Emmy awards and a host of other accolades, he continues to learn about the world around him to add value to his reports. In addition to his reporting duties, Kris continues to narrate the annual coverage of the Chicago Air and Water Show on WBBM NewsRadio. In his "off time," he is an active volunteer firefighter and certified EMT. A passion for history, combined with a fascination with all things maritime, has led Kris to assemble his yearly observations of life in the Calumet Harbor into a presentation he calls "History Over the Horizon."
So come along as we fly together over what can be best described as a full scale living history museum. There's always room for one more as we catch sight of the active and historic vessels that move our nation's commerce, just "over the horizon."
Sails on Model Boats: Should You or Shouldn't You? with Glenn Braun
For several years now, Glenn has been asked to do a work shop about how to put sails on a model ship. In addition to demonstrating his techniques he will and discuss the pros and cons of adding sail.Glenn has been building ship models for almost fifty years and his works have been on exhibit at several maritime museums. Visit him in the exhibit hall where he will demonstrate various aspects of the ship model builders art, including ships-in-the-bottle, and other current projects.
Water: The Keeper of Secrets with Eugene Hasiak
Join the Underwater Detectives on an adventure below the waves. See some of the secrets held within our own lake: ships, airplanes, submarines, and even an underwater forest. Learn the long kept secrets of new discoveries: treasure ships, exploration, documentation and fun.
Eugene has been a member of the Underwater Archeological Society of Chicago for the past 18 years, is an ambassador as well as buddy diver for Diveheart, and has presented at conferences, schools, and festivals throughout the Midwest.
Great Lakes Maritime Academy and Maritime Career Paths with Judy Druskovich
Have you ever considered a career in the maritime industry as either a Captain or Chief Engineer? The Great Lakes Maritime Academy representative will introduce you to what a maritime academy is, who we train and some of the exciting career paths for our graduates. There will be a brief video, presentation and Q & A.
Judy Druskovich, is the Admissions Specialist for the Great Lakes Maritime Academy located in Traverse City, Michigan; it is one of six State Maritime Academies in the nation. The Academy is unique in that 100 % of its graduates write for their Federal Deck or Engine Officer licenses and the Deck graduates concurrently train and license to become pilots.
Ms. Druskovich currently works with prospective students to determine if admission to the Great Lakes Maritime Academy is the right fit and guides them through the admissions process. She also assists in maritime events at the academy, advises the Women on the Water student group, and assists the Director of Enrollment. In addition to her work at the Academy, Ms. Druskovich serves on the Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council which is comprised of professionals representing various Marine transportation industries, agencies, customers and interest groups and serves to assist and advise Marine Administration (MARAD) and the Secretary of Transportation on the National Marine Transportation System.
Prior to her time at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, she spent several years assisting in various offices and special projects throughout the college while raising her family. Before relocating to Traverse City, Michigan and joining NMC, Ms. Druskovich’s career centered on developmental military vehicles at the Tank-Automotive Command in Warren, Michigan. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Packaging- Engineering from Michigan State University and has completed course work toward an MBA at the University of Michigan.
Stormy Weather with Amy Seeley
Learn about the changing weather patterns that have helped to fuel the increase and severity of storms.
Amy is the Port Meteorological Officer of the Great Lakes and has been with the National Weather Service for 16 years. She graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in meteorology in 1992 and has received an NWS award for her presentations at the Chicago Maritime Festival.
The Men Who Made The River That Made A City with Thomas J. Lutz and Paula Lutz
Today they are unknown, but they were among the greatest of men in the city during the 19th and early 20th century. Without them, Chicago today would only be a little lake port like so many others around Lake Michigan. However, mostly because of them, Chicago grew to become the greatest city on the lakes and the second greatest in the nation.
Lutz, a former historic preservation professional is the author of Shaping Chicago: James S. Dunham’s Crusade for the River.
Bawdy Sea Songs
Featured performers and special guests will perform totally uncensored shanties and sea songs. No one under 18 will be admitted.
Chicago Maritime Museum 2013: On The Move
Learn where the Chicago Maritime Museum stands in 2013 – poised to move through benefit funding to the next level.
Each year we look back at our successes and look forward towards our stretch goals. I am very happy to report that this last year we achieved some of our stretch goals. With help from a great many volunteers and excellent help from our contractors, we have a new website that should meet our needs for the next few years as we grow. You will find an ongoing list of stories about Chicago Maritime History, information about the Society’s activities as well as current events of interest. We intend to expand the web site over the next year to include stories and information about our collection. Feel free to browse the website and give us your feedback.
For the New Year I see many challenges. Our current location, the Helix building, has been sold. We plan to remain, at least for the next year. This opens up opportunities which the Board is currently exploring. We have been very happy with our current location as a means to explore what it means to be a museum and are starting to get a stream of people who wish to visit by appointment. The next logical step in our progression to become a world class museum is establish regular hours with a somewhat larger staff of volunteers, docents and paid staff. I believe this year could be a watershed for the museum.
On a somber note, two very influential members of our Society passed away this last year. The first was Ralph Frese, who was our Vice President and Mr. Canoe. He generously donated his time and provided his extensive collection of Canoes and books to the Museum. The second was Bill Rossberger who was a past member of the Board and was influential in the city in the early days of the Society and had a personal wealth of experience interest in Chicago Maritime History. Much more information about each of these can be found on our website. We will miss them, their stories and their passion for establishing a maritime museum in Chicago.
We build on the memories of those that have gone before and benefit from their vision and energy. The challenges we face this year will be require that vision, that energy, a great deal of wisdom from Chicago and the funds to turn ideas into reality. We will be reaching out to many of you over the next few months with requests of how you can get involved with your ideas, your energy and your financial resources to continue our momentum forward. -- Jerry Thomas, President Chicago Maritime Society
Hands on Safety 2013 with Jay Crissey
Jay Crissey has spent much of his professional life teaching survival skills to charter boat operators in the Great Lakes to commercial fishermen in Alaska. Jay will present some of the things everyone should consider when venturing out on the water. His seminar will feature preparation, techniques, and actual survival gear including an 8-man life raft that will be opened on site. Jay works around the world and at Parker Sales in Chicago, a mecca for the professional mariner.
The Story Behind the Paintings with Eric Forsberg
See how an idea comes together from researching history and on the spot observation. Find out how to tell about that moment in time in a painting, whether it's for museums, collectors, or that person who just loves maritime art.
Eric is one of Chicago's very own established artists. He grew up with a passion for art and attended the American Academy of Art. He studied with the famous Charles Vickery for a period of 10 years and also received guidance from Thomas Hoyne III. To further Eric's understanding of the relationship and rules between sky and water, he took to the sea working on lobster boats, fishing trawlers, tall ships, and sailed the Great Lakes allowing him to paint water with great conviction and knowledge.
His passion and excitement for historical and modern day ships is evident as their stories unfold on his canvas. Whether in the Great Lakes, the Indiana Dunes or out at sea -- Eric captures the moment!
NorthWest Sailing Association with Hal Shanafield
The NorthWest Sailing Association was founded in 1975 by a small group of sailors who lived in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. They enjoyed parties as well as being on the water, and the social side of sailing has always been a part of the club. Monthly meetings are held in the Arlington Heights Historical Society rooms, on the third Monday. The NWSA has sailing events scheduled throughout the summer months, and one doesn't have to be a boat owner, or an experienced sailor to be a part of it all. All that is required is an interest in sailing. Hal is a past president and long-time Great Lakes Sailor. www.nwsail.com.
REMEMBERING RALPH FRESE - Open Forum
Moderated by Bill Derrah, CMM Board Member & Voyageur
For Ralph …
A jaunty tuque and a long canoe – unwinding the secret streams
A hammer hard on red hot iron -- bending and shaping the stuff of dreams
A hearty laugh and a helping hug – unbounded in the passion of life
A sparkling eye and a skeptical glance – reveling in the unfolding of the unknown
A wildflower seed in lost a prairie – sewing a legacy that grows through time
… Chris Kastle, 2012
Share your favorite memory or story of Ralph Frese and celebrate his life.
Popularly known as “Mr. Canoe,” Ralph paddled the same waterways that carried the canoes of Native Americans, explorers, and the founders of Chicago. He devoted his life to keeping rivers and lakes clean for all to enjoy and educated people about the importance of waterway conservation. For over 60 years, Ralph’s outstanding accomplishments included founding the Chicagoland Canoe Base (his business where he built handcrafted canoes and practiced as a fourth generation blacksmith), taught local Boy Scout troops how to build their own canoes, helped the Cook County Clean Streams Committee transform Chicago Rivers, organized the annual Des Plaines River Canoe Marathon (now in its 54th year) to help draw attention to the scenic Des Plaines River as a valuable resource to preserve, and served as a charter member and vice-president of the Chicago Maritime Society. In 2010 he was the recipient of the National Rivers Hall of Fame Achievement Award. He was the first recipient of the American Canoe Association’s “Legends of Paddling” award in 1994, inducted into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame in 2006, and received awards from the Cook County Board of Commissioners the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Bureau of the Interior, to name just a few. Three years ago, a stretch of the wooded upper Chicago River was declared the “Ralph Frese Canoe Trail”.
How to Be an Underwater Shipwreck Detective - The Underwater Archeological Society of Chicago
For Kids and Adults
Learn about a schooner, its parts, and why these tall ships were important in Chicago's history. See and learn about scuba diving equipment used to be a shipwreck detective and how they find shipwrecks around the Great Lakes and the ocean. Then try to draw the shipwreck like an underwater archaeologist.
Make Your Own Monkey's Fist Key Chain
Learn how to make your own monkey's fist key chain from members of Sea Scout Ship 5111 and take it home with you. All materials are provided.
Model Boat Building For Kids
Design and built your own model boat – from motor vessel to tall ship – it’s up to you.Take your model home. All materials provided.
The Art of Knots with John DeWilde & JP Honeywell
Exhibit & Demonstration
Join John and JP at their amazing display of bell ropes, mats, and turkheads made of traditional and modern material. Most of the pieces have been created recently and have not been displayed at the festival in any previous year. Learn about Marlinespike seamanship, functional knotting, and decorative knotting.
John DeWilde is a current board member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers – North American Branch. JP Honeywell is a member of Knot Heads World Wide.