Riverwalk opening will include dedication of submariner memorial
Loop North News

Chicago Riverwalk

(Above) Rendering of a memorial planned for the Chicago Riverwalk east of Columbus Drive. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

22-Apr-19 – It has taken at least four years, but a memorial to submariners will be dedicated around the time the Chicago Riverwalk officially opens for the season on May 13, the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events has announced.

“This has taken us a while towards completing our mission, but we are happy to finally see our challenge coming to an end,” said Frank Voznak, Jr., the project’s manager.

Submarines used to pass through the Chicago River on their way to war. During World War II, submarines built in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, would travel 170 miles south on Lake Michigan to Chicago, enter the main branch of the Chicago River, turn onto the south branch, and take the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal to Lockport, Illinois. From there, it was off to the Mississippi River, New Orleans, Gulf of Mexico, Panama Canal, and ultimately the war effort in the Pacific.

In 2014, a group of submarine veterans announced they would raise $250,000 to build a memorial to this connection to history and place it on the Chicago Riverwalk.

“It’s about the history of this area that has become lost,” said Voznak in July 2014. “There are just not a lot of people aware that submarines passed through the City of Chicago on their way to war. And some of them were lost in combat with all hands.”

Of 28 submarines built in Manitowoc, four were lost in combat.

Since the original planning, the memorial has moved slightly east along the Chicago River and will be directly north of Vista Tower. Work on the foundation has started and the memorial, says Voznak, should be in place in early May.

USS Trout

The memorial will represent a submarine bulkhead and be coated with the same marine-grade paint used on submarines. It will include a watertight door salvaged from the USS Trout (left), which was launched in 1951.

The memorial, along with teak benches and a flagpole, will rest on a circular base 33 feet wide, representing the diameter of subs built in Manitowoc.

An inscription will read, “Dedicated to all U.S. Navy Submariners, past, present and future, who defend our nation in peace and in war.”

The date and time of the dedication ceremony for the memorial has not yet been announced.

Riverwalk east of Michigan Avenue will get new banners

A week of activities, from May 13 to May 19, are planned for the season kickoff of the Chicago Riverwalk.

New on the Riverwalk this year will be commissioned artwork by Ebony G. Patterson, known for her drawings, tapestries, videos, sculptures, and installations that involve surfaces layered with flowers, glitter, lace, and beads.

Ebony G. Patterson

Banners designed by Patterson will adorn the Riverwalk east of Michigan Avenue.

 Previous story: Memorial to submariners proposed for Riverwalk

• Contact Steven Dahlman at sdahlman@loopnorth.com

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