CHICAGO (CBS) — At Chicago Marine Towing & Salvage, they’ve been towing boats and pulling stuff off the bottom of Lake Michigan for 155 years, and they’re still going.

“My ancestors started towing lumber schooners up the Chicago River to an area called Bridgeport, which got its name because that’s as far as they could go because that’s as far as they could go, because there was a fixed bridge there,” said Jack Manley, who runs the company.

Chicago Marine Towing & Salvage has been in operation since 1856.

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“After World War I, they had to change it to Chicago Marine Towing, because now we had tow trucks on land,” Manley said. “We’re pretty much into towing and salvaging small boats.”

The company also salvages World War II planes.

“My father was the navigator for the two-carrier task force they trained on – the Wolverine and the Sable –during World War II,” Manley said. “We had his old log book, so we know where a lot of those planes are,” Manley said.

But much of what the company finds predates World War II by more than a century.

“Old Civil War rifles, a couple of cannons from pre-Civil War – we pull up a lot of interesting stuff,” Manley said. “I think the oldest artifact we pulled up was back from about 1819.”

Chicago Marine Towing & Salvage is based at 6348 N. Milwaukee Ave.

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