Many years ago, I was at a party in Oak Park, Illinois, conversing with well-educated persons, and I was told that the U-boat in the collection of the Museum of Science and Industry was captured on Lake Michigan.
Now, even at the time I knew that this wasn’t true. I would have called it an ‘Urban Legend’ if the term had been invented yet.
The sub on display is the WW2 craft U-505, captured in the North Atlantic during that war, acquired in the 1950’s and brought to Chicago through the lakes and the Welland Canal.
However, I later learned that indeed there was a U-boat on the Great Lakes, the WW1 craft UC-97, which today lies on the bottom of Lake Michigan. Click here for the whole story, from the US Navy History website.
There’s more to the history of subs on Lake Michigan. During WW2 28 US Navy subs were built at Manitowoc, Wisconsin and dive-tested in Lake Michigan. How the Navy got them to the ocean for Western Pacific service is a tale for another time (hint: they didn’t use the Welland Canal).