Building the Canal to Save Chicago

Chapter 1 Photos

Problem and Solution

BC-Photo 1.1
BC-Photo 1.1

August 22, 1899. A home on the bank of the Illinois and Michigan Canal as construction of the Main Channel was nearing completion. The I&M Canal upstream of Joliet would continue in service until about 1920 when the Calumet-Sag Channel was nearing completion. In 1907, the new lock at Lockport on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal provided an alternate route for navigation between Joliet and Chicago. (MWRD photo, disc 9, image 53)

BC-Photo 1.2
BC-Photo 1.2

May 28, 1894. A point west of the I&M Canal on an embankment separating the I&M Canal from the construction of the Main Channel in the vicinity of Summit. The Summit-Lyons Road Bridge over I&M Canal is left of center. The Des Plaines River and construction of the Main Channel is to the right of the embankment. The structure in the center is believed to be a SDC canal construction field office and police station on the Summit-Lyons Road. (MWRD photo, disc 3, image 10)

BC-Photo 1.3
BC-Photo 1.3

This 1895 photo shows the I&M Canal near Lemont. Rock quarried from the excavation of the Main Channel to the left in this view is loaded onto flat boats for transport upstream to locations where channel walls or bridge foundations are being constructed. (MWRD photo, Geiger set, image 99)

BC-Photo 1.4
BC-Photo 1.4

The Chicago Terminal Railroad Bridge over the South Branch on August 17, 1899. Swing bridges were popular, but they required a pier in the center of the river, restricting the passage of commercial vessels and causing increased flow velocity. This bridge was eventually replaced by the SDC to improve the flow conditions in the South Branch and remove obstructions to river traffic. (MWRD photo, disc 9, image 46)