Building the Canal to Save Chicago

Chapter 12 Photos

Placing the Main Channel in Operation

BC-Photo 12.1
BC-Photo 12.1

December 1, 1899. The location where water from the South Fork of the South Branch was introduced in Section O to fill the excavated Main Channel. A wooden flume, seen in the center, was constructed in the northwest bank of the Main Channel adjacent to the south end of the Collateral Channel. The Chicago, Madison and Northern Railroad Bridge is to the left and the center pier for the Kedzie Avenue Bridge is seen below the railroad bridge. (MWRD photo, disc 13, image 67)

BC-Photo 12.2
BC-Photo 12.2

December 30, 1899. The channel is nearly ready to begin the filling process. The materials in the right foreground would be removed and the channel side slope graded by the Section N excavation contractor in the final few days. The filling flume is located behind the Chicago, Madison and Northern Railroad Bridge. This view, taken from the Kedzie Avenue Bridge, is looking northeasterly. (MWRD photo, disc 14, image 81)

BC-Photo 12.3
BC-Photo 12.3

January 2, 1900. The initial inflow of water from the Collateral Channel through the filling flume in Section O. The Board of Trustees and staff of the SDC turned out to witness this momentous occasion. In the right background is a dredge used to open the connection to allow water to flow. (MWRD photo, disc 127, image 20)

BC-Photo 12.4
BC-Photo 12.4

January 2, 1900. The lineup of nine members of the Board of Trustees and Chief Engineer Isham Randolph, second from left, ready to take the first shovel full of earth to allow water to flow into the Main Channel. (MWRD photo, disc 14, image 75)

BC-Photo 12.5
BC-Photo 12.5

January 2, 1900. The dipper dredge of the excavation contractor in Section O breaching the earthen berm at the south end of the Collateral Channel to allow water to flow into the Main Channel through the filling flume. (MWRD photo, disc 14, image 77)

BC-Photo 12.6
BC-Photo 12.6

January 9, 1900. The slowly rising water level at the Bear Trap Dam of the Lockport Controlling Works in Section 15. A crowd has gathered to witness the rise. As of this date, the Main Channel is slightly more than half full. The full height of the Bear Trap Dam is shown by the shading on the far wall. (MWRD photo, disc 14, image 73)

BC-Photo 12.7
BC-Photo 12.7

January 16, 1900. The Main Channel is full in Section 12. This view is taken from the Romeoville Road Bridge looking north. The water level in the Main Channel reached equilibrium with the water level in the West Fork and Collateral Channel on January 14, 1900. The wait began for Illinois governor Tanner to give his approval for the water to flow out of the Main Channel at Lockport. (MWRD photo, disc 14, image 61)

BC-Photo 12.8
BC-Photo 12.8

January 16, 1900. The water in the Main Channel at Lockport at its maximum level in equilibrium with the water level in the West Fork of the South Branch in Chicago. The Bear Trap Dam is raised to its highest level to contain the water. Governor Tanner gave his approval to allow water to flow on January 17, 1900. (MWRD photo, disc 14, image 59)

BC-Photo 12.9
BC-Photo 12.9

January 20, 1900. The flow of water over the Bear Trap Dam from the Main Channel into the tailrace channel and on to the Des Plaines River three days after the dam was lowered and flow began. The flow in the Chicago River was now irrevocably reversed. (MWRD photo, disc 14, image 49)