Calumet: First and Forever

Chapter 3: Draining the South Area

Sewers, Photos 1–37

(photos 38–74 here and 75–100 here)

CFF-Photo 3.1.1
CFF-Photo 3.1.1

Photo 3.1.1. July 27, 1917, looking east on Ninety-Seventh Street toward Baltimore Avenue. The first District Calumet sewer work, section 2, began in the South Deering neighborhood. Concrete from the mixer at right is being placed in the sewer formwork. A water main crossing the sewer trench is supported by a makeshift beam. A huge railroad lift bridge crosses the Calumet River in the distance. (MWRD photo 6073)

CFF-Photo 3.1.2
CFF-Photo 3.1.2

Photo 3.1.2. July 27, 1917, looking west toward Houston Avenue along Ninety-Seventh Street. A clamshell bucket is carefully maneuvered between the trench bracing. Bracing the trench is necessary in sandy soils to prevent a cave-in. As soon as the concrete sewer cures, the bracing is removed as the trench is backfilled. At left, small rail cars are delivering materials to the concrete mixer. (MWRD photo 6072)

CFF-Photo 3.1.3
CFF-Photo 3.1.3

Photo 3.1.3. May 8, 1917. Calumet Intercepting Sewer sections 2 through 6 run southwest for 6.6-miles, ending in the Pullman neighborhood. The eastern end of section 4 runs through low unimproved ground north of Lake Calumet. The low ground makes the sewer appear to be near the ground surface even though the sewer invert is down gradient from sections 2 and 3. (MWRD photo 5920)

CFF-Photo 3.1.4
CFF-Photo 3.1.4

Photo 3.1.4. May 8, 1917, looking east northeast. Section 4 bends from its west-southwest route north of Lake Calumet into 103rd Street. The bend occurs at the extension of Woodlawn Avenue. Smoke on the horizon two miles away illustrates busy industrial activity along the Calumet River. (MWRD photo 5921)

CFF-Photo 3.1.5
CFF-Photo 3.1.5

Photo 3.1.5. Seven months earlier, November 20, 1916, the sewer bend at 103rd Street was under construction. Straight parts of the sewer are cast using reusable steel forms. The curve was cast using a wooden form built by carpenters and, at this location, it includes a manhole. (MWRD photo 5667)

CFF-Photo 3.1.6
CFF-Photo 3.1.6

Photo 3.1.6. October 24, 1916, looking west from Woodlawn Avenue. Part of section 4 ran under 103rd Street between Woodlawn and Corliss avenues. Concrete is being placed in the forms for the sewer arch above the invert. Concrete had already been placed in the sewer invert in the foreground. Pullman Car Company shops are along the north side of 103rd Street. (MWRD photo 5642)

CFF-Photo 3.1.7
CFF-Photo 3.1.7

Photo 3.1.7. November 20, 1916, looking west along 103rd Street approaching Corliss Avenue. Using an orange peel bucket, the crane operator is backfilling this part of the completed section 4 sewer. Construction of the sewer stops at this point waiting for execution of an easement from the Pullman Car Company to cross railroad tracks leading into their shops. (MWRD photo 5666)

CFF-Photo 3.1.8
CFF-Photo 3.1.8

Photo 3.1.8. November 20, 1916. Aggregate is being unloaded from railcars into batch plant bins. Nash Brothers, the section 4 contractor, used this concrete batch plant for constructing the length of the sewer in the section. The plant was located near the west end of the section next to the Illinois Central Railroad for the convenience of material deliveries. (MWRD photo 5671)

CFF-Photo 3.1.9
CFF-Photo 3.1.9

Photo 3.1.9. Nearly a year later, August 17, 1917, sand is being unloaded from railcars into batch plant bins. Because of an over-supply, sand has also been stockpiled on the ground. Beneath the bins, small cars carry the exact amount of each dry material for a batch of concrete. (MWRD photo 6149)

CFF-Photo 3.1.10
CFF-Photo 3.1.10

Photo 3.1.10. November 20, 1916. The small cars beneath the bins are not in this view, but are behind the wall against which the men are standing and above the concrete blenders behind the wall. The dry materials for each batch—aggregate, Portland cement, and sand—are dumped into the small cars in this view through the chutes in the wall. (MWRD photo 5672)

CFF-Photo 3.1.11
CFF-Photo 3.1.11

Photo 3.1.11. November 20, 1916. The small cars of the blended dry materials for each batch are hauled to the construction site where each batch of the blended dry materials are placed in a concrete mixer. Hauling is done with a horse (a locomotive could also be used). Water is added to the mixer, and after through mixing, the concrete is ready to be placed in forms for the sewer invert or arch. (MWRD photo 5673)

CFF-Photo 3.1.12
CFF-Photo 3.1.12

Photo 3.1.12. July 27, 1917, looking east along 103rd Street, 0.4-miles east of Corliss Avenue. Sewer construction continues. A horse-drawn wagon crosses above the sewer along the tracks. Construction resumed in 2017 to complete the segment of section 4 sewer that was pended in 1916 due to lack of an easement from the Pullman Car Company. (MWRD photo 6070.5)

CFF-Photo 3.1.13
CFF-Photo 3.1.13

Photo 3.1.13. August 17, 1917, looking west along 103rd Street. A dragline is excavating the sewer trench in advance of sewer construction. Some of the excavation spoil is being used for backfill in the foreground. Pullman Car Company shops are at right. (MWRD photo 6147)

CFF-Photo 3.1.14
CFF-Photo 3.1.14

Photo 3.1.14. September 25, 1917, looking east across Corliss Avenue along 103rd Street. Excavating machines are in the sewer trench along 103rd while a surveyor is checking alignment details at the corner. The sewer will turn south into Corliss at this intersection. The Pullman Car Company shops are in the background. (MWRD photo 6211)

CFF-Photo 3.1.15
CFF-Photo 3.1.15

Photo 3.1.15. October 22, 1917, looking east southeast from Corliss Avenue with 103rd Street running east to the left. The section 4 sewer will be turning south under Corliss. A 4-foot brick sewer in the right foreground can’t be saved due to the proximity of the new sewer and its age. It will be replaced with a new sewer. (MWRD photo 6240)

CFF-Photo 3.1.16
CFF-Photo 3.1.16

Photo 3.1.16. October 22, 1917, looking west from north bank of the sewer trench showing the 103rd Street brick sewer and excavation for the Section 4 sewer. The building in the background is on the southwest corner of Corliss Avenue where the sewer will turn south. An electric or gas utility crosses the sewer trench. (MWRD photo 6241)

CFF-Photo 3.1.17
CFF-Photo 3.1.17

Photo 3.1.17. November 7, 1917, looking northeast across the intersection of 103rd Street and Corliss Avenue. The wood form for the sewer curve is connected to the straight sewer segments in each street. Carpenters will be completing the formwork and connection to the straight sewer segment in Corliss, after which steel reinforcing will be placed before placing concrete to complete the sewer elbow. (MWRD photo 6267)

CFF-Photo 3.1.18
CFF-Photo 3.1.18

Photo 3.1.18. August 17, 1917. North of the intersection of 103rd Street and Corliss Avenue are the employee entrance and exit gates for the Pullman Car Company. (MWRD photo 6148)

CFF-Photo 3.1.19
CFF-Photo 3.1.19

Photo 3.1.19. October 22, 1917, looking north in Corliss Avenue toward 103rd Street. The excavator has turned the corner and is proceeding south in Corliss. Workers are removing a Chicago water main. Bracing the trench is not necessary since the excavation is now in blue clay. (MWRD photo 6242)

CFF-Photo 3.1.20
CFF-Photo 3.1.20

Photo 3.1.20. December 2, 1917, looking north in Corliss Avenue across 104th Street. The dragline is excavating the sewer trench to the south and will soon begin the turn to the west in 104th Street. Care must be exercised when excavating close the masonry building at left. (MWRD photo 6305)

CFF-Photo 3.1.21
CFF-Photo 3.1.21

Photo 3.1.21. May 13, 1918. Work has resumed after the winter shutdown and the sewer trench excavation has turned the corner, proceeding west in 104th Street. Construction workers crowd the narrow space between the building and edge of the trench while below the invert of the curved sewer is being constructed. (MWRD photo 6471)

CFF-Photo 3.1.22
CFF-Photo 3.1.22

Photo 3.1.22. Later in the day, May 13, 1918, the excavator had moved west on 104th Street and a form for construction of the straight segment beyond the turn was set in the bottom of the trench on top of the completed sewer invert. Carpenters will soon begin construction of the wood form for the sewer elbow. The completed straight sewer segment in Corliss Avenue appears in the right foreground. (MWRD photo 6472)

CFF-Photo 3.1.23
CFF-Photo 3.1.23

Photo 3.1.23. May 13, 1918. While work on the sewer elbow at 104th Street and Corliss Avenue continues in the background, excavation of the sewer trench proceeds west on 104th. Looking east, a steam shovel in the foreground is stripping off the pavement and upper soil layers to create a lower surface for the dragline to excavate the sewer trench. The Chicago Surface Lines had already removed the streetcar tracks. (MWRD photo 6475)

CFF-Photo 3.1.24
CFF-Photo 3.1.24

Photo 3.1.24. October 14, 1918. The Illinois Central Railroad required the use of the open cut method for the section 4 sewer to pass under their freight and passenger tracks on 104th Street west of Cottage Grove Avenue. Working in tight quarters, a steam shovel with a short boom excavates the sewer trench, preceding construction of the sewer. (MWRD photo 6690)

CFF-Photo 3.1.25
CFF-Photo 3.1.25

Photo 3.1.25. September 12, 1919. Most of the length of section 5 was constructed under South Park Avenue, presently Martin Luther King Drive. Some of the students in front of the parish school on the west side of South Park south of 113th Street are looking over the street where the contractor has recently installed a track and removed pavement for sewer construction. (MWRD photo 7247)

CFF-Photo 3.1.26
CFF-Photo 3.1.26

Photo 3.1.26. December 11, 1919. It was getting too cold for concrete work unless precautions were taken to prevent freezing. Looking west on 114th Street from Calumet Avenue, an insulating blanket wraps the sewer while the concrete cures. Byrne Brothers, the contractor for section 5, experienced delays caused by World War I material shortages. (MWRD photo 7414)

CFF-Photo 3.1.27
CFF-Photo 3.1.27

Photo 3.1.27. December 11, 1919, looking north along South Park Avenue from 115th Street. Construction on Section 5 has come to a standstill for the winter shut-down. A locomotive and tracks occupy the street. A dragline is positioned on 114th Place behind the building at left. (MWRD photo 7415)

CFF-Photo 3.1.28
CFF-Photo 3.1.28

Photo 3.1.28. September 24, 1920, looking south along South Park Avenue toward 107th Street. Construction of section 5 is proceeding to the north. A dragline in the right foreground is excavating the sewer trench, while in the middle ground, concrete is being placed in the sewer arch. Backfilling the completed sewer appears in the background. The concrete mixer at right is being fed by a continuous line of batches for concrete mixing. (MWRD photo 7847)

CFF-Photo 3.1.29
CFF-Photo 3.1.29

Photo 3.1.29. October 19, 1918, looking east in 114th Place over Prairie Avenue. The dragline is in the trench at the intersection, which is also the boundary between section 5 in 114th Street and section 6 in Prairie Avenue. Constructing large sewers through neighborhoods presents many challenges. (MWRD photo 6699)

CFF-Photo 3.1.30
CFF-Photo 3.1.30

Photo 3.1.30. October 19, 1918, looking south in Prairie Avenue from 114th Place. Sewer construction is approaching the end of section 6. The sewer turns east in 114th and section 6 ends after the elbow in the intersection. The people standing at 115th Street may be looking down at the structure surrounding the sewer. The structure was built to support streetcar tracks on 115th Street. (MWRD photo 6700)

CFF-Photo 3.1.31
CFF-Photo 3.1.31

Photo 3.1.31. October 19, 1918, looking north in Prairie Avenue toward 114th Place. The dragline is making the turn into 114th while construction of the sewer continues in the foreground. After excavation of the sewer trench under the intersection is complete, carpenters will build a wood form for the sewer elbow. (MWRD photo 6705)

CFF-Photo 3.1.32
CFF-Photo 3.1.32

Photo 3.1.32. November 13, 1918, looking west in 114th Place toward Prairie Avenue. Section 6 ends in the foreground after the turn into 114th Place. Trees along the street parkways have been removed to accommodate the construction machinery and track for moving materials and spoil. (MWRD photo 6729.5)

CFF-Photo 3.1.33
CFF-Photo 3.1.33

Photo 3.1.33. September 16, 1918, looking north in Prairie Avenue toward Kensington Avenue. Backfilling the completed sewer in the foreground is performed using a cantilevered conveyor with soil supplied by a line of dump cars on the right. Meanwhile, on the left, materials for concrete are delivered to the mixer for placement in the sewer. (MWRD photo 6642)

CFF-Photo 3.1.34
CFF-Photo 3.1.34

Photo 3.1.34. September 16, 1918, looking southwest across Prairie Avenue at Kensington Avenue. Small dump cars are drawn up to dump their load of dry materials for each batch of concrete. After mixing with water, the concrete is placed in the sewer by flowing down the long chute to the wood sewer form. (MWRD photo 6643)

CFF-Photo 3.1.35
CFF-Photo 3.1.35

Photo 3.1.35. September 16, 1918, looking south in Prairie Avenue toward Kensington Avenue. A dragline in the background is excavating the sewer trench and loading dump cars to the west of the trench. A locomotive in the foreground has backed in to remove some damaged dump cars, perhaps the result of a cave-in of the structure supporting the tracks. (MWRD photo 6645)

CFF-Photo 3.1.36
CFF-Photo 3.1.36

Photo 3.1.36. December 12, 1916. Tunneling was underway and could be worked through the winter because tunnel temperatures were well above freezing. The Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad preferred to have the sewer built by the tunnel method under its tracks crossing Prairie Avenue at 117th Street. The tunnel head house and shaft for the north heading was located on Prairie Avenue at the alley north of 116th Street. (MWRD photo 5730)

CFF-Photo 3.1.37
CFF-Photo 3.1.37

Photo 3.1.37. February 20, 1918. Workers are advancing the heading in one of multiple drifts, and installing timber supports and sheeting as they proceed to prevent a cave-in. Multiple drifts were necessary due to the size of the final sewer cross-section and to allow uninterrupted rail traffic above. (MWRD photo 6396)