Building the Canal to Save Chicago

Chapter 6 Photos

Earth and Rock Section

BC-Photo 6.1
BC-Photo 6.1

A hydraulic dredge in Section A used to excavate peat and organic wet soils in the overburden, May 31, 1894. The dredge spoil slurry was pumped to diked areas between the construction site and Des Plaines River to form part of the levee. (MWRD photo, disc 3, image 13)

BC-Photo 6.2
BC-Photo 6.2

A dipper dredge used on Section A to remove deeper soft and wet overburden, May 31, 1894. The dredge spoil was cast to the side or loaded into scows and used in the levee between the construction site and Des Plaines River. (MWRD photo, disc 3, image 19)

BC-Photo 6.3
BC-Photo 6.3

Mule-drawn scrapers remove unconsolidated dry soils in Section D, July 10, 1894. The excavated material was loaded into mule-drawn carts for transport to the spoil area or to the levee constructed to separate the Des Plaines River and the Main Channel. (MWRD photo, disc 26, image 30)

BC-Photo 6.4
BC-Photo 6.4

May 28, 1894. The removal of overburden in excavating the Main Channel and use of the spoil in constructing the levee to the left between the Main Channel and the Des Plaines River in Section F. (MWRD photo, disc 3, image 8)

BC-Photo 6.5
BC-Photo 6.5

The excavation of the Main Channel in Section A, June 30, 1896. The steam shovel in the lower right is digging into the face of the soil and loading the spoil onto hopper cars that are then towed to and up the incline for transport to the spoil pile. (MWRD photo, disc 2, image 56)

BC-Photo 6.6
BC-Photo 6.6

This photo from June 30, 1896, shows the same incline as in the prior photograph, and the truss spanning the spoil area in Section A. The hopper cars are towed up the incline and across the truss to the point of dumping the spoil. (MWRD photo, disc 2, image 59)

BC-Photo 6.7
BC-Photo 6.7

September 18, 1896. A closer view of the steam power plant, incline, and truss in Section A shown in the prior two photographs. Here’s a hopper car shortly after depositing its load of spoil under the truss. (MWRD photo, disc 1, image 16)

BC-Photo 6.8
BC-Photo 6.8

A steam shovel excavates the Main Channel in Section D, 1895. (MWRD photo, Geiger set, image 275)

BC-Photo 6.9
BC-Photo 6.9

Large boulders discovered in the overburden during excavation of the Main Channel in Section B, April 20, 1895. The contractor claimed an extra for removal of these boulders resulting in a dispute between the SDC and the contractor. (MWRD photo, disc 2, image 13)

BC-Photo 6.10
BC-Photo 6.10

October 12, 1894. The pumping plant used by the contractor in Section B to keep the excavation de-watered. (MWRD photo, disc 7, image 68)

BC-Photo 6.11
BC-Photo 6.11

October 6, 1898. The final grading and slope paving or armoring for the Main Channel in Section F. This protection was necessary to resist the erosive force of the water that would eventually flow in the Main Channel and to maintain the stability of the sloping channel bank. (MWRD photo, disc 5, image 90)

BC-Photo 6.12
BC-Photo 6.12

The finished channel with slope paving in Section F, April 13, 1899. The paving was accomplished with limestone slabs from rock excavation. (MWRD photo, disc 11, image 82)

BC-Photo 6.13
BC-Photo 6.13

A view from the Summit-Lyons Road Bridge looking northeasterly shows the transition in channel size at the division between Sections F and G, the current location of Harlem Avenue, April 13, 1899. Notice that the slope paving on the right bank extends farther upstream to the limit of Section F, while the transition occurs within the end of Section F on the left bank. (MWRD photo, disc 4126, image 100)

BC-Photo 6.14
BC-Photo 6.14

Looking north shows construction of the Des Plaines River Spillway in early 1894. The river is on the left behind the trees at the base of the moraine, about 0.25 miles north of present day 47th Street. Concrete or masonry was used to form the spillway and wing walls. Earthen levees flanked the spillway on each side to separate the Des Plaines River from the Chicago Lake Plain. (Photo from Brown, G. P., Drainage Channel and Waterway, Chicago, R.R. Donnelley and Sons Co., 1894.)

BC-Photo 6.15
BC-Photo 6.15

March 6, 1894. The completed spillway looking north allows a small flow over the spillway toward Chicago. The levees flanking the spillway between the river and Chicago Lake Plain served to control excess flows from causing overland flooding that would eventually be channeled in the Ogden-Wentworth Ditch, West Fork, South Branch, and Chicago River. (Photo from “Lecture” found in the Greeley and Hansen, Chicago, archives. “Lecture” was prepared by the SDC in June 1918.)