The Wilmette Harbor Club, located north of Chicago on Lake Michigan, includes a clubhouse with both indoor and outdoor dining, a gas dock, and mooring for several hundred boats. Since 1929 the Wilmette harbor's Sheridan Shore Yacht Club has hosted sailboat fleet racing during the summer months. Wilmette harbor is also home to the Sheridan Shore Sailing School for both adults and children.

Wilmette Harbor Club

Lost on the Lady Elgin lecture

by Valerie van Heest, Underwater Explorer, Historian, and Author
Saturday, January 20th @12:00pm

9780980175097 usWhen she touched a musket lying in a field of debris among the wreckage of the once palatial sidewheel steamer Lady Elgin, it ignited a passion for the study of the tragic circumstances of her sinking in Lake Michigan in September 1860, which resulted in the deaths of more than 300 people, most from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Valerie van Heest brings the audience back in time: To the golden age of Great Lakes passenger travel; to the eve of a presidential election; to the brink of Civil War; and to a dark, stormy night when 400 excursionists on board the Lady Elgin were awakened in the middle of the night by a terrible crash when the vessel was off Highland Park, Illinois. Within just a few hours, most of them would perish in the deadliest disaster on the open waters of the Great Lakes. One hundred sixty years after this tragic accident, Valerie shares her exploration of the wreckage, her involvement in a lengthy court battle, some fascinating artifacts from the wreck and the lessons she learned. 

> Visit the event page here to register


valery van heestAbout the Speaker

Wilmette native, Valerie Olson van Heest is an underwater explorer and historian who has been involved in the discovery and archaeological documentation of numerous historic Great Lakes shipwrecks. Combining her passion for maritime history with her professional writing and design experience, Valerie shares her adventures through award-winning books, films, lectures, and museum exhibits in ways to educate, entertain and inspire. She is an inductee in the Women Divers Hall of fame and the recipient of a Michigan State History Award for her work preserving and promoting the state’s submerged maritime history.