Foolkiller submarine found in Chicago River

A submarine was discovered in the Chicago River in November of 1915 by William “Frenchy” Deneau, a professional diver who was assisting with the wreck of the Eastland.(The Trib article about this first brings up the name of Peter Nissen, suggesting the boat belonged to him.

Submarine foolkiller found

This is patently untrue. Peter Nissen was another Chicago wacko of recent fame (1900-1904), who went over Niagra Falls in 1900 in a boat of his design, then perished in late 1904 while attempting to cross Lake Michigan in a rolling balloon he invented.

Bowser shoots Niagra Rapids


Search for “nissen” later in the year to see his fate.

Deneau applied to the “Federal Government” for permission to clean and exhibit the wreck. Upon opening the submarine, he discovered “some human bones” and a skull of a dog. (16 Jan 1916 article) These were sent to the coroner.
Skulls found on foolkiller,old submarine
By 23 Feb 1916, an ad appeared in the Tribune advertising the exhibition of the raised submarine at 208 S. State Street. Ten cents admission. Deneau is now “Capt. Deneau” in the ad. This exhibit was in conjunction with the Skee-Ball Company.

Skee Ball/Deneau ad in Trib
In the initial story, it was reported that the sub was found near the Rush Street Bridge. Next it was reported as being near the Wells Street Bridge. In 1917, while a grunt in the Army, Deneau remembered it as being near the Madison Street Bridge. But, in the Jan 1916 Trib article, it was “finally brought up and towed to the Fullerton avenue bridge, where Deneau and his helpers set about cleaning it.”
Back to the theory that this sub was one of Lodner Philips’–
While it’s possible, there is no hard evidence to back it up.

The following are links to Lodner Philips cites– (starts at p. 22)
Well written summary article about Harris’ well researched book on Philips. While this one relies on much info from the Harris book, it’s scholarly.

Articles from Weird Chicago
Part #1 this first article has interesting comments. Traces the sub to the

Fool Killer part #2

The Fool Killer Submarine–part 3
As a side note, some sites say that a “William Nissen”(no relation) of Chicago bought the sub in or around 1890, and sold it to the guy who drowned with his dog, there is no evidence of this. Trust me.