Capt. Lawrence Lawson Scrapbook

Northwestern University’s Life Saving Station was established in the aftermath of several disastrous shipwrecks on Lake Michigan. Noteworthy was the tragic loss of the steamer Lady Elgin in September, 1860. Many students and Evanston residents responded to that incident that cost the lives of nearly 300. Edward Spencer, a Northwestern student, was one of those who braved the waters in a valiant effort to save lives. Spencer’s heroism left him permanently injured, but inspired administrators to situate a permanent lifeboat station on Northwestern’s lakefront.