Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes

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I was in Chicago recently and stayed in the part of the city known as Streeterville.  This neighborhood is between Michigan Avenue and Lake Michigan, basically the area directly east of the Magnificent Mile. Streeterville is named after an eccentric man named George “Cap” Streeter who lived there during the latter part of the nineteenth century.

You are probably wondering what this all has to do with shipwrecks.  It is a fascinating tale – one of many that Joan Forsberg, historian, scuba diver and author will talk about in her free program  about Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes next week. Here is part of Streeter’s story:

In 1886 Streeter purchased a boat named the Reutan and took it for a test run on Lake Michigan during a storm.  He and his wife ended up on a sandbar 450 feet east of Michigan Avenue and decided to live there on their boat.

This was only 15 years after the Chicago Fire and the city was in the process of rebuilding.  Streeter told contractors that they could use his sandbar as a dump.  Soon the land was extended by 186 acres. He did his research and found that Chicago and Illinois ended at the original shoreline and claimed full rights to the land which he named the “District of Lake Michigan.”

Thursday, April 5 at 7 pm

Find out what happened to Cap Streeter as well as many other fascinating stories of murder, deception and mayhem aboard Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes.  Please register online here.

Interesting related links:

Learn about Chicago Public Library’s Streeterville collection

A 1915 New York Times article about Streeter’s arrest for squatting, Chicago’s ‘Oasis’ Raided by Police

CapStreeter.com

Cap Streeter at thelocaltourist.com

-Ann, Adult Programming & Meeting Room Coordinator

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