Calumet: First and Forever

Chapter 3: Draining the South Area

Ninety-Fifth Street Pumping Station

CFF-Photo 3.3.1
CFF-Photo 3.3.1

Photo 3.3.1. April 1, 1921. Chicago built the first Ninety-Fifth Street Pumping Station, on the southeast corner of Ninety-Fifth Street and Baltimore Avenue, in 1907, and by 1915 it had reach its capacity and could no longer serve its tributary area. The District agreed to take it over and increase its capacity. (MWRD photo 8086)

CFF-Photo 3.3.2
CFF-Photo 3.3.2

Photo 3.3.2. April 1, 1921. Chicago’s pumping station used steam-driven pumps, and large boilers were next to the pump room. Looking northeast, the boilers and smokestack were located to the south of the pump room. The station pumped sewage to the nearby Calumet River, one mile from Lake Michigan. (MWRD photo 8084)

CFF-Photo 3.3.3
CFF-Photo 3.3.3

Photo 3.3.3. April 1, 1921, looking east. Coal, delivered by rail on a spur off nearby Pennsylvania Railroad tracks, fueled the boilers. The spur was mounted on a timber trestle. The District determined that a new pumping station would better serve the tributary area and reduce pollution of the Calumet River. (MWRD photo 8085)

CFF-Photo 3.3.4
CFF-Photo 3.3.4

Photo 3.3.4. April 1, 1921. The pump room was a spectacle of shiny chrome and brass machinery, contrasting with piping painted black and glazed white brick walls. The station included two triple expansion steam engines driving centrifugal pumps. The windows faced Ninety-Fifth Street. (MWRD photo 8091)

CFF-Photo 3.3.5
CFF-Photo 3.3.5

Photo 3.3.5. April 11, 1924. The District purchased the property south of the existing pumping station. Because of the existing sewers, there was no other reasonable site. Looking east from Baltimore Avenue along the south line of the new pumping station site, a row of well points has been installed to lower the groundwater table on the site prior to foundation excavation. (MWRD photo 10527)

CFF-Photo 3.3.6
CFF-Photo 3.3.6

Photo 3.3.6. April 29, 1924. Excavation for the pumping station substructure was finished, and excavation for incoming sewers is underway. The tall tower was used for concrete distribution. Concrete was mixed off site and brought to the tower by rail. An elevator in the tower lifted each batch for transfer to concrete buggies. (MWRD photo 10561)

CFF-Photo 3.3.7
CFF-Photo 3.3.7

Photo 3.3.7. April 29, 1924. Substructure walls were in place and the floor of the pump suction chambers was being constructed. Looking southeast, a manufactured gas plant was located south of the pumping station site. (MWRD photo 10559)

CFF-Photo 3.3.8
CFF-Photo 3.3.8

Photo 3.3.8. May 26, 1924, looking east. Formwork is being erected for the pump room floor, supported by pillars in the pump suction chamber. The dry weather pump discharge chamber is to the right and the wet weather pump discharge chamber is to the left of the pump suction chamber. At far left, mixed concrete is raised in the tower and flows down the chute into buggies for distribution on the platform around the structure. (MWRD photo 10631)

CFF-Photo 3.3.9
CFF-Photo 3.3.9

Photo 3.3.9. June 21, 1924. Two sewers are in the foreground. On the left is the section 1 wet weather discharge conduit, connected to the discharge chamber, and leading to Howard Slip. Next to it is the section 1 influent sewer from Ninety-Fifth Street that will connect to a screen chamber followed by the suction chamber. (MWRD photo 10792)

CFF-Photo 3.3.10
CFF-Photo 3.3.10

Photo 3.3.10. August 12, 1924. Sewer work has been completed and backfilled. The workers are building the screen chamber. The pump room floor is in place and superstructure framing has been erected. Due to the railroad in the rear, the pumping station screen chamber is close to the west property line. (MWRD photo 11091)

CFF-Photo 3.3.11
CFF-Photo 3.3.11

Photo 3.3.11. September 11, 1924. The masonry enclosure for the first story is complete, and the tower is gone, indicating that concrete work is complete. Part of the screen chamber extends west of the station’s front entrance. (MWRD photo 11169)

CFF-Photo 3.3.12
CFF-Photo 3.3.12

Photo 3.3.12. September 11, 1924. The rear of the station, looking west, contained electrical and mechanical equipment. Below, a gated chamber allowed flow to be transferred between the dry and wet weather pump discharge chambers and the pump suction chamber. (MWRD photo 11170)

CFF-Photo 3.3.13
CFF-Photo 3.3.13

Photo 3.3.13. As pumping station construction progressed, construction of the section 1 sewer began by excavating a sewer trench in Baltimore Avenue starting south of Ninety-Fifth Street shortly before May 26, 1924, when this photo was taken. From the street to the pumping station intake, section 1 included two parallel sewers, one being double-barreled; the other, single-barrel. (MWRD photo 10633)

CFF-Photo 3.3.14
CFF-Photo 3.3.14

Photo 3.3.14. June 15, 1924. The two barrels are under construction. On the left is a double-barreled sewer in which the lower barrel conveys wet weather flow to Howard Slip and the upper barrel conveys sewage to the pumping station. On the right, a single barrel conveys sewage from a local sewer in Ninety-Fifth Street to the station intake. (MWRD photo 10679)

CFF-Photo 3.3.15
CFF-Photo 3.3.15

Photo 3.3.15. July 17, 1924, looking north in Baltimore Avenue toward Ninety-Fifth Street. Another double-barreled section 1 sewer is under construction. The upper barrel conveys pumped sewage from the station to the section 2 sewer at Ninety-Seventh Street, and the lower barrel conveys sewage from the section 11 intercepting sewer at Ninety-Sixth Street north to the new pumping station. (MWRD photo 10923)

CFF-Photo 3.3.16
CFF-Photo 3.3.16

Photo 3.3.16. August 12, 1924, looking south in Baltimore Avenue from Ninety-Sixth Street over the completed section 1 sewer. The sewer is now a single barrel and the trench is ready to be backfilled. The four large smokestacks in the left background are at the Commonwealth Edison 100th Street Generating Station, one of the sources of electricity for the Calumet Plant and two pumping stations. (MWRD photo 11089)

CFF-Photo 3.3.17
CFF-Photo 3.3.17

Photo 3.3.17. January 26, 1925. The 15-ton Whiting gantry crane is useful in assembling the pumps. Looking east in the pump room, the three wet weather pumps are on the left and the three dry weather pumps are on the right. All pumps are in various states of assembly. (MWRD photo 11462)

CFF-Photo 3.3.18
CFF-Photo 3.3.18

Photo 3.3.18. March 11, 1925. Looking northwest in the pump room, the three wet weather pumps are in operating condition. An electrical motor sits to the right of each pump. The large door in the north wall is for moving large equipment in or out of the station. The stairway leads up to the screen room and front entrance. (MWRD photo 11587)

CFF-Photo 3.3.19
CFF-Photo 3.3.19

Photo 3.3.19. April 23, 1925. Looking southwest in the pump room, the three dry weather pumps are in operating condition. An electrical motor sits to the left of each pump. The large gate valve on each discharge pipe next to the wall is used to throttle the flow. The small pipe next to the valve is used to create a vacuum for pump priming. (MWRD photo 11685)

CFF-Photo 3.3.20
CFF-Photo 3.3.20

Photo 3.3.20. April 23, 1925. The finished Ninety-Fifth Street Pumping Station, looking northeast, has clean lines and a modest amount of decorative stone work. It is unlike other District buildings of the same era. At left, the old city pumping station will be demolished. In 1958, the Chicago Skyway, Interstate Route 90, was built directly overhead of the station. (MWRD photo 11690)

CFF-Photo 3.3.21
CFF-Photo 3.3.21

Photo 3.3.21. July 23, 1925. The split casing volute of a wet weather centrifugal pump has been opened for inspection and maintenance. The pump impeller and shaft have been removed. Periodic inspection and maintenance make these large machines operate successfully for several decades. (MWRD photo 11971)

CFF-Photo 3.3.22
CFF-Photo 3.3.22

Photo 3.3.22. July 28, 1925. Rotation of the pump impeller forces water to move. Large impellers, as the ones shown, typically rotate at lower speeds, such as 150 revolutions per minute, to move large volumes of water. The impeller blades are inspected for pitting caused by cavitation. The pitting can be corrected by welding additional metal on the blades and grinding the weld to a smooth surface. (MWRD photo11988)

CFF-Photo 3.3.23
CFF-Photo 3.3.23

Photo 3.3.23. September 16, 1926. Looking east in the pump room, operating engineers on the floor operate vacuum pumps and valves to prime a pump. Electrical operators in the distant control room throw switches to energize the coils in the motor to begin rotation. When water is drawn up into the volute, more energy is applied to bring the motor up to full speed. (MWRD photo 13006)