Milestones in Chicagoland’s
Naval History

Throughout the 20th Century and up to today, Chicagoland and our region have played pivotal roles in our nation’s sea services,  maritime history and heritage, and national defense. At the center of this history is Navy Pier.


The Great Lakes Naval Training Station, located in North Chicago, formally opens on land donated by the Merchants Club of Chicago (now known as the Commercial Club of Chicago).


The Chicago Municipal Pier is built to serve as a barracks and training center for Army and Navy personnel during World War I.


The Chicago Municipal Pier is renamed “Navy Pier” in honor of its World War I service.


Chicago Vocational High School opens and is soon procured by the U.S. Navy and used to train mechanics who would build and repair aircraft. (After the war, the school helps returning veterans who left school for war prior to graduation to earn their diploma.)


In 1942 the U.S. Navy purchases sidewheel excursion steamer ships Greater Buffalo and Seeandbee and converts them into the WWII training ships USS Sable and USS Wolverine.


University of Illinois opens a Chicago campus on Navy Pier to accommodate the hundreds of veterans seeking a college education, now funded by the new GI Bill of Rights


A vintage World War II aircraft, an FM-2 Wildcat, was pulled from the depths of Lake Michigan.

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Please consider honoring the people and contributions our area has made to the U.S. Navy by making a donation today.