History

Timeline

  • 1930's Portuguese immigrant Arthur Agra begins operation of speed boat rides from the south east corner of Navy Pier with a boat carrying 6 passengers.
  • 1940's Arthur and son Robert Sr. move their operations to the southwest side of the Michigan Avenue Bridge at Wacker Drive, as Mercury Sightseeing Boats and expand with vessels carrying 40 passengers.
  • 1960's The Agra's expand to include sightseeing boats both at the State Street Bridge and the Michigan Avenue Bridge with vessels carrying 100 passengers.
  • 1970's Robert Agra Jr. takes over the operation, closing State Street operations and experiencing growth at the Michigan Avenue location.
  • 1990's Robert's wife Holly expands operations by adding Chicago's First Lady Cruises, a separate company operating the first riverfront fine dining vessel in Chicago.
  • 1991 Holly Agra becomes the first female President of The Passenger Vessel Association.
  • 2000's Chicago's First Lady Cruises expands it's company and partnership with the Chicago Architecture Foundation (now the Chicago Architecture Center) to operate three vessels within her fleet and complement the original Mercury Chicago's Skyline Cruiseline, which continues to operate two sightseeing vessels.
  • 2001 Chicago's First Lady and Mercury Cruiselines move operations to the southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge and continue to operate tours and charters from that location today.
  • 2009 Chicago's Riverwalk opens at Chicago's First Lady's docking location at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive.
  • 2011 4th Generation family member Robert Agra III joins the business full-time. Chicago's Leading Lady is christened as the largest vessel in the fleet with capacity of 250.
  • 2013 Chicago's First Lady Celebrates 20th anniversary partnering with the Chicago Architecture Foundation (now the Chicago Architecture Center).
  • 2014 Chicago's Classic Lady, sister ship to Chicago's Leading Lady, joins the company in the spring, bringing the fleet to six vessels accommodating up to 250 passengers.


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