Crafting Your Experience

ChicagoHistory
Chicago Maritime Museum

Waterways and Rivers: Chicago's Maritime History

Chicago's maritime commerce helped build the entire city. It all started with Native Americans transporting goods via canoe and can be seen in the bustling economy surrounding Chicago's modern ports today. Explore historic boats and learn about the development of our city's waterways by visiting the Chicago Maritime Museum.

  • 1.

    Embark on Chicago's Maritime History

    Embark on Chicago's Maritime History

    Start here when exploring Chicago's ports, harbors and history.

  • 2.

    Historic lighthouses

    Historic lighthouses

    Guiding ships safely to harbor since the 19th century.

  • 3.

    Maritime Commerce History

    Maritime Commerce History

    How schooners and barges grew Chicago long before the first train arrived in 1850.

  • 4.

    Making of the Port

    Making of the Port

    Learn about the creation of a new port to support increased ship traffic.

  • 5.

    A Major Inland Port Today

    A Major Inland Port Today

    Here, 18 million tons of raw materials enter and exit Chicago every year.

  • 6.

    From Canoes to Cargo Ships

    From Canoes to Cargo Ships

    From canoes to 600-footers, boats on the Great Lakes have taken many forms over the years.

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