Draining Chicago

Chapter 3 Photos, 23–44

(photos 1–22 here and 45–68 here)

North Shore Channel

DC-Photo 3.23
DC-Photo 3.23

April 5, 1909. The flood in April 1909 caused much havoc along the channel route. South of Bryn Mawr Avenue a steam shovel remained partially underwater, and the drainage ditch on the east side of the channel excavation was running bank full. It took several days of lost productivity to pump out the water and to repair the steam shovel before work could resume. (MWRD photo 4067)

DC-Photo 3.24
DC-Photo 3.24

Looking southeast over construction of the North Branch Dam, January 20, 1910. Concrete work has been completed and laborers are cleaning up construction debris. The dragline is preparing to remove the downstream berm, isolating the work area of the dam from the channel. The Argyle Street Bridge east abutment and pier is in the left background. (MWRD photo 4281)

DC-Photo 3.25
DC-Photo 3.25

Looking southwest at the downstream side of the dam, January 20, 1909. Backfill must be placed against the high side walls and downstream wing walls before the dam is complete. Five buttresses support the vertical overflow wall of the dam. The notch in the top of the far end of the vertical wall is for low flow. (MWRD photo 4282)

DC-Photo 3.26
DC-Photo 3.26

May 24, 1910. The completed North Branch Dam is passing a modest flood. The streamflow exceeds the capacity of the low flow spillway notch on the south end of the dam and is passing over the entire length of the overflow wall. Looking west from the east bank of the channel, the cupola atop Old Main is in the distance. Old Main was the first building on the new campus of North Park College and was the tallest building on the City’s North Side at the time. (MWRD photo 4365)

DC-Photo 3.27
DC-Photo 3.27

Near Dewey Avenue looking southwest at the transition from section 3 to section 4, June 6, 1910. The channel bottom is loaded with clay resulting from slope failures on both channel banks. Unstable slopes were prevalent from this point to the lakefront. The Brown Street (later renamed Bridge Street) Bridge is in the distance. (MWRD photo 4405)

DC-Photo 3.28
DC-Photo 3.28

Looking north along Dewey Street and the timber flume for diversion of the Dewey Street sewer over the channel excavation, June 6, 1910. This sewer was a major outlet for the area north of the channel; it flowed south to Emerson Street and east to Lake Michigan. The size of the sewer precluded rerouting north of the excavation. (MWRD photo 4408)

DC-Photo 3.29
DC-Photo 3.29

Slope failure and a landslide on August 27, 1910, wrecked the flume across the channel at Dewey Street, resulting in sewage discharging into the excavation. Looking north on August 29, 1910, this view shows total destruction of the flume. A Schnable & Quinn dragline at right is removing some of the fill in the channel. The unstable soil precluded rebuilding the flume and sewage was allowed to flow into the unfinished channel as completion by the end of the year was expected. (MWRD photo 4498)

DC-Photo 3.30
DC-Photo 3.30

Northeast of Emerson Street, December 12, 1913. A dipper dredge and scow. Dredge spoil was often stockpiled in the stilling basin until it could be transported to Lake Michigan disposal areas. After water was admitted to the channel late in November 1910 and pumping lake water began in April 1911, annual dredging was necessary to maintain the capacity of the channel until the slope stability problems were brought under control. (MWRD photo 4893)

DC-Photo 3.31
DC-Photo 3.31

This January 30, 1914, photo shows a pile driving derrick and scow of timber sheeting works north of the Linden Avenue Bridge on the east bank of the channel for a project to demonstrate a method of improving slope stability. Timber piles and sheeting are being driven vertically through the soft clay into deeper stiffer clay to provide lateral support for the soft clay. Later, the side slope will be cut back and armored with rock riprap to resist erosion. (MWRD photo 4905)

DC-Photo 3.32
DC-Photo 3.32

January 30, 1914. A completed section of the slope stability demonstration project on the northwest bank of the channel west of West Railroad Avenue (later renamed Green Bay Road). The demonstration proved effective and the method was used elsewhere. Notice the line of distinctive District transmission towers in the background, supplying electrical power to the Wilmette Pumping Station. (MWRD photo 4909)

DC-Photo 3.33
DC-Photo 3.33

November 1, 1916. Hydraulic sluicing in action on the east bank north of Isabella Street; two laborers direct the nozzle stream at the base of the cut. A stream-driven pump on the barge supplies high pressure water. The loosened soil ends up in the channel, where it is removed by dredging and towed in scows to a clay pit or the lake for disposal. Evanston Hospital is the large building right of center background. (MWRD photo 5651)

DC-Photo 3.34
DC-Photo 3.34

September 19, 1917. Both channel side slopes in the reach between the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad (now the CTA Purple Line) and Isabella Street are being stabilized using hydraulic sluicing. The sluiced material in the channel is being removed by dredging. A golf course occupies some of the land on each side of the channel. (MWRD photo 6197)

DC-Photo 3.35
DC-Photo 3.35

The north side of Dempster Street, April 11, 1919. A damaged drainage ditch drop chute on the west side of the channel. Overflowing storm drainage has eroded the soils causing the concrete chute to collapse. The unstable clay side slopes and erosion were the cause of numerous similar failures along the channel route and became a continuing maintenance burden for the District until street drainage and sewer systems were installed. (MWRD photo 6972.5)

DC-Photo 3.36
DC-Photo 3.36

April 11, 1919. The rebuilt south drainage ditch drop chute on the west bank at Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. The disturbed soil was removed; the void filled with broken rock, gravel; and broken concrete; a new concrete drop chute was cast; and the sides of the chute were paved with mortared riprap to resist erosion. (MWRD photo 6979)

DC-Photo 3.37
DC-Photo 3.37

This photo shows that the drainage ditch drop chute on the west side of the channel and north side of Church Street was particularly bad on May 13, 1919. In addition to the drop chute, the bridge abutment was severely undermined endangering the safety of persons and vehicles crossing the bridge. (MWRD photo 7070)

DC-Photo 3.38
DC-Photo 3.38

Erecting the distinctive District transmission tower near the southwest corner of the intersection Colfax and Jackson streets in Evanston for electrical service to the Wilmette Pumping Station, March 2, 1909. The transmission line paralleled the west side of the channel from Foster Street in Chicago to Sheridan Road in Wilmette. The electricity was generated at the District’s Lockport hydroelectric powerhouse. (MWRD photo 4042)

DC-Photo 3.39
DC-Photo 3.39

Looking east at a congested shopping area from an alley west of Kedzie Avenue, this August 7, 1923, view shows the line along the north side of Lawrence Avenue. The transmission line began at the District’s Leavitt Street Substation on Fullerton Avenue and ran underground beneath Elston and Kedzie avenues to Montrose Avenue. It continued north as an overhead line in the alley west of Kedzie to Lawrence, east to Troy Avenue and north in Troy to the channel at Foster Avenue. (MWRD photo 9932)

DC-Photo 3.40
DC-Photo 3.40

Looking north across the pumping station site, August 29, 1910. Pump tunnel formwork is to the right of center. The completed southwest retaining wall is to the left of center and the hole in the retaining wall is the outfall for the North Shore Intercepting Sewer, construction of which began in 1914. Above this wall is a concrete mixing plant and a temporary trestle for the delivery of construction materials. (MWRD photo 4485)

DC-Photo 3.41
DC-Photo 3.41

A close-up view of the downstream ends of the pump tunnel formwork, August 29, 1910. The small square holes are for the shafts connecting the screw pump propellers to the gear reduction units and electrical motor. The large holes in the foreground are the pump tunnel outlets, which will be in the west wall of the pumping station and fitted with flap gates. (MWRD photo 4490)

DC-Photo 3.42
DC-Photo 3.42

September 9, 1910. The area lakeward of the pumping station is being excavated as close as possible to the embankment, holding back the water in the stilling basin for construction of the northeast and northwest concrete retaining walls. The temporary trestle for Sheridan Road, which crossed this area where the steam shovel is working, has been removed. (MWRD photo 4515)

DC-Photo 3.43
DC-Photo 3.43

November 2, 1910. The walls and windows of the pumping station are being installed; the flap gate frames on the tunnel discharge ports are in place. The small holes above the pump tunnel ports are for the flap gate counterweight chains. The concrete floor of the discharge channel remains to be finished, but the wall separating the pump discharge channel from the lock has been completed. (MWRD photo 4543)

DC-Photo 3.44
DC-Photo 3.44

View from the stilling basin side of the lock, November 25, 1910. The east miter gates for the lock are in position. When swung open, each gate will be in a recess in the lock wall. Each gate is fitted with three small slide gates at the bottom to be used for emptying or filling the lock chamber to pass a boat through the lock. The miter gates point downstream since the higher water level will be in the channel when pumping occurs. (MWRD photo 4548)