Past Event


A Road Scholar Program by Lee Murdock

Using folk songs to tell the story of commerce on the rivers, canals, and Lake Michigan’s shoreline in Illinois, Lee Murdock traces the rise of shipping in our state, from the keelboats of the nineteenth century to today’s 1000-foot lake freighters.

In old songs and new, Murdock sings of lake schooners hauling grain and iron ore, famous river packets delivering their goods and passengers, and the canal boatmen who navigated across the Illinois prairie. He speaks to the shift in shipping technology from sailing craft to steam-powered vessels. He tells of heroic deeds, comical characters, and the beauty of our state’s waterways.

Lee Murdock sings and speaks the language of the river rats and schooner-men, the lighthouse keepers and fisher-folk, the modern-day sailor and the environmentalist.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information at please contact Catherine Barnett at