Draining Chicago

Chapter 4 Photos, 1–23

(photos 24–46 here and 47–69 here)

North Area Sewersheds and Watersheds

DC-Photo 4.1
DC-Photo 4.1

Constructing the North Shore Intercepting Sewer by open cut along Sheridan Road in Wilmette, July 3, 1914. A steam shovel at right is excavating the trench, and the concrete mixer at left follows. The skid-mounted mixer is moved along using the rollers carried by the laborers. (MWRD photo 4956)

DC-Photo 4.2
DC-Photo 4.2

Steel sheeting and horizontal bracing hold the soil on the sides of the trench in place, while a movable form is moved by the trolley for the intercepting sewer in Wilmette, July 3, 1914. The bottom segment of the sewer cross-section is cast first, followed by the upper segment shown in the background. (MWRD photo 4957)

DC-Photo 4.3
DC-Photo 4.3

George Wisner, District chief engineer, addresses a crowd for the groundbreaking of the Evanston Intercepting Sewer at 3:00 pm on August 23, 1916, at the intersection of Custer and Mulford streets in Evanston. The several trustees and local officials also on the platform preceded Wisner in speaking. Refreshments were served in the tent, and a local band played music. (MWRD photo 5606)

DC-Photo 4.4
DC-Photo 4.4

January 2, 1917. A District engineer inspects the designated area along the lake shore between Church and Davis streets for spoil disposal for the intercepting sewer construction in Evanston. The church steeple and buildings to the north in the background are part of the campus of Northwestern University. (MWRD photo 5744)

DC-Photo 4.5
DC-Photo 4.5

Carpenters are building forms for the reinforced concrete foundation of the Evanston Pumping Station, October 23, 1919. A stiff-leg derrick is used to lower materials; a concrete mixer stands ready next to the field office. The house on the right across Elmwood Avenue no longer exists; the site is presently occupied by the Evanston Police Department headquarters. The houses south of Lake Street remain to the present time. (MWRD photo 7322)

DC-Photo 4.6
DC-Photo 4.6

Viewed from the southwest, May 5, 1921. The completed Evanston Sewer Pumping Station is a handsome addition to Evanston’s architectural landscape with its Prairie School features in red brick and limestone detailing—and an important public works asset. Sewers east of Chicago Avenue in Evanston are too low in elevation for gravity flow to the North Shore Channel, hence the need for a pumping station. (MWRD photo 8163)

DC-Photo 4.7
DC-Photo 4.7

This head house on North Side Intercepting Sewer No. 1 covers the top of a vertical shaft near Isabella Street in Evanston, May 31, 1922. A steam hoist is used to move laborers, equipment, and spoil in the shaft. Most of the deep intercepting sewers were constructed by tunnel because this method was less costly than the open cut method. Deep intercepting sewers were necessary to receive sewage from local municipal sewers. (MWRD photo 9117)

DC-Photo 4.8
DC-Photo 4.8

Laborers at the face of the tunnel heading are mining clay one block north of Main Street for North Side Intercepting Sewer No.1, August 30, 1922. The soft moist clay could be carved like butter. The slabs of clay were placed in dump cars, and the cars moved to the shaft and hoisted to the surface. Timber bracing and wood sheeting were installed as mining progressed to prevent the tunnel from collapsing. (MWRD photo 9427)

DC-Photo 4.9
DC-Photo 4.9

After mining out the clay, forms were built in the bottom of the tunnel and the concrete invert of the intercepting sewer was poured. When the invert was cured, steel braces in the form of an arch were set, wooden planks attached, and concrete poured behind the wooden planks, as shown here on August 30, 1922, at the north heading, a block north of Dempster Street. (MWRD photo 9423)

DC-Photo 4.10
DC-Photo 4.10

A finished section of intercepting sewer tunnel looking north, August 30, 1922. The interior bracing and forms have been removed, and the concrete reveals the outline of the form boards. The North Side Intercepting Sewer No.1 extended from south of Oakton Street north to Sheridan Road in Wilmette. It was 6.5 feet high south of Lake Street and 4.5 feet high north of Lake Street. (MWRD photo 9424)

DC-Photo 4.11
DC-Photo 4.11

A north-facing view, April 7, 1922. The intercepting sewer under construction through Evanston passes under West Railroad Avenue approximately where the fire hydrant is located. Tunneling invariably resulted in some surface subsidence, shown by the slight dip in the sidewalk. The Chicago & North Western railroad is to the right. The houses along the west side of the street have been replaced by Kingsley Elementary School. (MWRD photo 8848)

DC-Photo 4.12
DC-Photo 4.12

September 20, 1924. Laborers are mining clay on the north heading midway between Howard Street and Touhy Avenue; the size requires two levels of work. A loaded dump car is full and ready to be pushed south to the shaft for hoisting to the surface for disposal. Concrete placement keeps pace with the mining. North Side Intercepting Sewer Nos. 3 and 4 are the largest size, 15 feet high, running from Howard Street south to Argyle Street. (MWRD photo 11190)

DC-Photo 4.13
DC-Photo 4.13

Looking at the south heading in the intercepting sewer south of Touhy Avenue, February 14, 1925. The bulkhead has failed; a few of the lattice arch supports have buckled. The ground above also subsided. The contractor will excavate the unstable soil from above, replace the forms and supports, continue mining the heading, and pouring the reinforced concrete sewer. After the concrete sewer has cured, backfill will be placed in the hole from above and the ground surface restored. (MWRD photo 11529)

DC-Photo 4.14
DC-Photo 4.14

April 1, 1925. The contractor has completed the north end of North Side Intercepting Sewer No. 3 at Howard Street and has installed a bulkhead to seal the end of the section of sewer. The bulkhead will remain in place for two or three years until another contractor completes the connection to the influent screen chamber for the North Side Sewage Treatment Works. (MWRD photo 11651)

DC-Photo 4.15
DC-Photo 4.15

September 6, 1924. The bottom of a typical construction shaft is within the bottom portion of the completed sewer. Two hoists are in active use to maintain the supply of construction materials and removal of mined spoil. The center vertical strut separates the two hoists and the hoisting engines are topside in the shaft head house. (MWRD photo 11167)

DC-Photo 4.16
DC-Photo 4.16

April 14, 1925. The many construction shafts must be sealed before a contract is complete. All hoisting machinery has been removed from this shaft and the contractor will install forms and pour the reinforced concrete crown of the sewer. When cured, the shaft above will be backfilled and the surface restored. (MWRD photo 11655)

DC-Photo 4.17
DC-Photo 4.17

East of the intersection of Albany and Carmen avenues, North Side Intercepting Sewer No. 3 crosses under the North Branch, upstream of the North Branch Dam. The sewer in this short segment was constructed by the open cut method to avoid problems with water and the potential for flooding. The stream was conveyed over the sewer construction in a wooden flume, shown to the south behind the horizontal bracing, August 20, 1925. (MWRD photo 12088)

DC-Photo 4.18
DC-Photo 4.18

Looking west, August 20, 1925. The flume is in the center behind the industrial track used to transport material and spoil. Open cut sheeting follows the sewer alignment on both sides of the flume. Beyond the flume, standing water in the North Branch is caused by construction debris in the foreground obstructing the flow. (MWRD photo 12089)

DC-Photo 4.19
DC-Photo 4.19

Looking southeast across District property and the right-of-way of the intercepting sewer in the Ravenswood Manor neighborhood, June 27, 1929. Manor Avenue is on the right approaching the intersection with Giddings Street. This lot and the lot across the alley to the north are perhaps the only private properties acquired for the North Side Intercepting Sewer. In recent years, the lot is leased and maintained as LaPointe Park by the Ravenswood Manor Improvement Association. (MWRD photo 15760)

DC-Photo 4.20
DC-Photo 4.20

Looking east, October 21, 1925. The two conduits are exposed; the deep excavation is suitably braced; and forms for the new conduit are under construction. North Side Intercepting Sewer No.6 from Irving Park to Barry Avenue crossed the intake and discharge conduits for cooling water at the Commonwealth Edison Northwest Generating Station in California Avenue south of Addison Street. (MWRD photo 12213)

DC-Photo 4.21
DC-Photo 4.21

Looking north, December 19, 1925. The new conduit has been completed and Edison added sluice gates in each to facilitate maintenance. The District proceeded to build the sewer crossing over the conduits within the right-of-way of California Avenue. The conduits were used for cooling water from the North Branch until 1970, when the generating station was taken out of service. (MWRD photo 12464)

DC-Photo 4.22
DC-Photo 4.22

Looking north, April 13, 1925. The heading and completed sewer in North Side Intercepting Sewer No.6 under California Avenue, about midway between Melrose Street and Otto Street. A district construction engineer is inspecting the contractors’ work in this 10.5-foot-high section. (MWRD photo 11664)

DC-Photo 4.23
DC-Photo 4.23

January 30, 1925. North Side Intercepting Sewer No. 6, looking east under Melrose Street east of California Avenue, showing the completed 10.5-foot-high sewer, forms where concrete was recently poured, and showing the heading with exposed clay. The sewer was routed via Melrose Street and Washtenaw Avenue to avoid the complex Belmont/California/Elston intersection. (MWRD photo 11476)