Building the Canal to Save Chicago

Chapter 7 Photos

Earth Section

BC-Photo 7.1
BC-Photo 7.1

A steam shovel excavating the Main Channel in Section G, 1895. The excavated material is dumped into a hopper above a conveyor belt hidden behind the steam shovel. (MWRD photo, Geiger set, image 204)

BC-Photo 7.2
BC-Photo 7.2

The conveyor belt, incline, and steam power plant in Section G used to transport the excavated material from the steam shovel to the spoil area, 1895. (MWRD photo, Geiger set, image 205)

BC-Photo 7.3
BC-Photo 7.3

The truss spanning the spoil area in Section G, 1895. The excavated material in the Earth Section was of uniform quality without boulders. Even though various mechanical devices were used to excavate and transport soil, the steam shovel was the most used type of equipment. (MWRD photo, Geiger set, image 203)

BC-Photo 7.4
BC-Photo 7.4

September 15, 1894. The Mason-Hoover excavating machine used in Section H. The narrower width of the Main Channel in the Earth Section allowed for this machine to span the area to be excavated. It rode on rails on each side of the Main Channel and the extended arms on each end cantilevered over the spoil areas. A continuous belt from end-to-end of the structure was used to transport the excavated soil to the spoil area at either end. (MWRD photo, disc 7, image 27)

BC-Photo 7.5
BC-Photo 7.5

The Mason-Hoover excavating machine following an accident in Section G in which one of the extended arms collapsed, 1895. Despite the touted efficiency of this machine, it could not exceed the performance of the steam shovel. This view is from the Santa Fe Railroad tracks looking westerly. The water in the foreground is probably a channel constructed by the contractor for drainage. (MWRD photo, Geiger set, image 181)

BC-Photo 7.6
BC-Photo 7.6

June 11, 1894. The excavation method used on Section I, which is similar to the method used on many other sections. This contractor used a double track incline. (MWRD photo, disc 26, image 41)

BC-Photo 7.7
BC-Photo 7.7

June 1894. Another view of the excavating machinery and method used on Section I. The hopper cars are lifted up the incline by a steam powered hoist. (MWRD photo, disc 3, image 50)

BC-Photo 7.8
BC-Photo 7.8

The excavation of the Main Channel in Section L, 1895. The total depth of the excavation is accomplished in two lifts. The upper lift spoil is transported to the left and the lower lift spoil is transported to the right. (MWRD photo, Geiger set, image 212)

BC-Photo 7.9
BC-Photo 7.9

October 14, 1896. A completed Main Channel excavation in Section L. Contractors who completed their portion of the Main Channel excavation were required to keep the excavation de-watered or nearly so until all work was completed for the entire Main Channel. This was eventually found to be a hardship for those contractors who finished early and the SDC assumed the responsibility for drainage. (MWRD photo, disc 4126, image 49)

BC-Photo 7.10
BC-Photo 7.10

June 28, 1899. The channel excavation nearly completed; spoil piles in the Earth Section. (MWRD photo, disc 8, image 100)

BC-Photo 7.11
BC-Photo 7.11

A steam shovel excavating the Main Channel in Section M, 1895. (MWRD photo, Geiger set, image 208)

BC-Photo 7.12
BC-Photo 7.12

The two-track incline for hopper cars used in excavating the Main Channel in Section M, 1895. The steam power plant used to move the hopper cars is at the base of the upper incline and part of a steam shovel is shown at work in the foreground. (MWRD photo, Geiger set, image 207)

BC-Photo 7.13
BC-Photo 7.13

The upper incline used for transporting excavated material to the spoil pile in Section M, 1895. (MWRD photo, Geiger set, image 209)

BC-Photo 7.14
BC-Photo 7.14

July 7, 1894. A dipper dredge used to excavate the Main Channel in Section O. Being an extension of the South Branch, this part of Section O was excavated by floatable equipment. The portion of Section O east of the Eight-Track Railroad Bridge was the only part of the Main Channel completely excavated in this manner. The spoil was loaded into scows, towed to the Chicago Harbor, and used to make land along the lakefront in what is now Grant Park. (MWRD photo, disc 3, image 77)

BC-Photo 7.15
BC-Photo 7.15

July 7, 1894. Another view of the dipper dredge and scow shown in Photo 7.14. Dipper dredges were used to excavate the Main Channel in Section O. Due this part of Section O being an extension of the South Branch, excavation by floatable equipment was more economical than building a coffer dam, dewatering and excavating in the dry. (MWRD photo, disc 26, image 35)

BC-Photo 7.16
BC-Photo 7.16

October 17, 1894. Another view of excavation in Section O. Due to the lack of more sophisticated equipment for under water excavation, the banks of the Main Channel were left without graded side slopes. In time, these banks would develop a trapezoidal cross-section shape. (MWRD photo, disc 7, image 74)

BC-Photo 7.17
BC-Photo 7.17

A tug boat used to move scows in the dredging in Section O, 1897. Loaded scows were towed to the lake and the spoil was deposited for fill in what is now Grant Park. (MWRD photo, disc 4126, image 53)

BC-Photo 7.18
BC-Photo 7.18

September 11, 1899. The nearly completed excavation for the Main Channel in the western portion of Section O. This portion was excavated using steam shovels and the spoil was transported from the site and used as fill for roads and park landscaping. (MWRD photo, disc 9, image 74)