In The News

Rolling on the River: Songs about Illinois Waterways

This notice appeared on the KWQC TV6 website. The original notice may be accessed here. 


BISHOP HILL, Ill. (KWQC) – On Saturday, April 9, 2016 the Bishop Hill Heritage Association is hosting Windjammer, Sternwheelers, and Tin-Stackers:   Working Waterways of Illinois, a program provided by the Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speaker Bureau.  Using folk songs to tell the story of commerce on the rivers, canals, and Lake Michigan’s shoreline, performer Lee Murdock traces the rise of shipping in our state, from the keelboats of the nineteenth century to today’s 1000-foot lake freighters.  This free public program will start at 2 p.m. in the Dairy Building, located at 410 North Erickson Street in Bishop Hill, Illinois.

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.

For more details, please call the BHHA at 309 927-3899, or email, or visit