West by Southwest to Stickney

Chapter 4 Photos, 1–37

(photos 38–73 here)

Extending the Sanitary & Ship Canal

Photo 4.1
Photo 4.1

March 26, 1904, looking south from the terminal wall of the Sanitary & Ship Canal. Work recently began, excavating rock and building the west levee of the canal extension. The contractor used manual and animal power initially while steam powered mobile equipment was being brought to the site and set up. A steam hoist is in use at right to haul the dump cars up the incline to build the levee. (MWRD photo 2719)

Photo 4.2
Photo 4.2

May 12, 1904. Construction of the rock-filled timber crib wall separates the Des Plaines River on the left from the construction area on the right for the extended S&S Canal. With the addition of aggregate, sand and clay within the timbers, and rockfill on each flank for stability, the wall will be watertight and allow for excavation of rock in dry conditions for the channel extension at right. Looking north, the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railroad bridge is in the background. (MWRD photo 2738)

Photo 4.3
Photo 4.3

May 7, 1907. The west levee holds the Des Plaines River back while excavation proceeds in the dry in section four of the extended Sanitary & Ship Canal. A steam shovel is loading dump cars in the distance. The cross levee beyond the steam shovel is an interim measure until the crib wall and levee extending farther south can be made watertight. The Santa Fe Railway follows the line of poles at left. (MWRD photo 3712)

Photo 4.4
Photo 4.4

Excavating the channel required protecting and strengthening the bridge piers supporting the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railroad. A channeling machine is cutting deep slots in the bedrock surrounding the pier base to maintain the integrity of the pier foundation when blasting occurs, June 9, 1906. Looking northeast, the Santa Fe Railway lies east of the rock levee at right and in the background. (MWRD photo 3459)

Photo 4.5
Photo 4.5

May 7, 1907. The removal of bedrock broken up by blasting with dynamite around the piers of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railroad bridge is underway using steam shovels. The masonry piers are reinforced with timber bracing and carpenters are building forms to encase the bedrock beneath the pier in concrete. Looking south, the Santa Fe Railway is in the left background. (MWRD photo 3710)

Photo 4.6
Photo 4.6

Excavation of the extended Sanitary & Ship Canal under the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railroad bridge is nearly complete on May 28, 1907, and the bedrock encased in concrete will protect the piers from passing boats. Twenty years later, the piers will be removed and the channel widened. The bridge will be replaced with a long-span lift bridge for the larger Illinois Waterway. (MWRD photo 3726)

Photo 4.7
Photo 4.7

June 1, 1906. Called a traveler because it is on rails and travels along with the work, this piece of equipment mixes concrete for placement in the forms used for building the east and west walls. The ingredients for each concrete batch are delivered by rail to the traveler, and, after mixing, the concrete is placed through the long hanging tubes. As the wall rises in height, shorter tubes will be used. (MWRD photo 3440)

Photo 4.8
Photo 4.8

June 1, 1906. Looking south from the terminal wall of the Sanitary & Ship Canal, the east wall and the west levee have reached their full height. Channel excavation has reached full depth in the center, while more excavation must be completed on the right. The Ninth Street swing bridge is in the center background and the Lockport Road bridge over the Des Plaines River is in the right background. (MWRD photo 3437)

Photo 4.9
Photo 4.9

Looking north from a point north of Sixteenth Street, construction of the east wall of the extended Sanitary & Ship Canal is proceeding by January 9, 1906. The concrete wall is founded upon bedrock, and, for additional support, a rock fill embankment is buttressed on the land side shown at right. The new Ninth Street swing bridge crossing the extended canal is in the background. (MWRD photo 3295)

Photo 4.10
Photo 4.10

Construction of the west concrete wall just upstream of the Lockport Powerhouse cannot be integrated with the powerhouse until the powerhouse is built. As of November 9, 1905, excavation of the powerhouse foundation and construction of turbine discharge draft tubes is underway. Draft tubes convey water downstream after the water passes through the turbines. The draft tubes will be lined with concrete behind the wooden forms at left. (MWRD photo 3264)

Photo 4.11
Photo 4.11

A blast of dynamite on August 6, 1907, blew the top of the cross-levee between construction sections three and four of the extended Sanitary & Ship Canal. Looking south toward Joliet, section four had already been completed and filled with water. Now it was time to let water into section three and the part of section two downstream of the Lockport Powerhouse. (MWRD photo 3774)

Photo 4.12
Photo 4.12

The blast was successful and later, on August 6, 1907, water is filling the completed channel. When the water on each side of the cross-levee reaches equilibrium, the cross-levee will be removed and debris on the channel bottom cleaned up using dredges. In the left background, section four, the first section to be completed for the extended Sanitary & Ship Canal, had already been filled with water. (MWRD photo 3776)

Photo 4.13
Photo 4.13

In just a few years, the concrete walls near Lockport needed repair. The use of unsatisfactory materials and the freeze-thaw cycle caused the concrete to deteriorate. District crews performed repairs, as shown on July 11, 1911, until contracts were awarded for the same purpose. The water level in the canal had to be carefully controlled to protect the workers. (MWRD photograph 4664)

Photo 4.14
Photo 4.14

Raising the Sixteenth Street bridge over the Des Plaines River on May 27, 1904. The east end of the bridge was raised to meet the higher elevation of the new bridge crossing the extended Sanitary & Ship Canal, but the west end did not need raising. Each span was raised by a proportional amount. The east span was also shortened and its east end moved slightly north to align with the new bridge over the extended canal. (MWRD photo 2763)

Photo 4.15
Photo 4.15

The eastern-most span of the Sixteenth Street bridge over the Des Plaines River, shown in its original position on June 1, 1906, was realigned both horizontally and vertically to meet the bridge over the extended Sanitary & Ship Canal. The east end of the span was moved north and raised. The trestle at right approximates the alignment of the end span. (MWRD photo 3446)

Photo 4.16
Photo 4.16

By June 1, 1906, the Sixteenth Street swing bridge over the extended Sanitary & Ship Canal had been completed and was waiting for the completion of abutments. The east abutment was integrated with the east wall, but was a separate structure. Construction of the east abutment was just beginning, shown at right. The Ninth Street bridge is in the center background. (MWRD photo 3442)

Photo 4.17
Photo 4.17

By July 14, 1910, the Sixteenth Street bridge over the extended Sanitary & Ship Canal, had been in operation for three years and the bridgetender’s house located at road level on the side of the bridge lacked good visibility of oncoming boats. It was eventually replaced with a new house positioned within the truss above the swing pier and road traffic. When the swing bridge was open, the bridgetender lacked direct access to the canal bank. (MWRD photo 161A)

Photo 4.18
Photo 4.18

The Sixteenth Street bridge over Deep Run and the Santa Fe Railway, a six-span deck truss, was near completion by December 19, 1906. However, construction of the east approach embankment and pavement, and connection to Sixteenth Street at right was just beginning beyond the east abutment. (MWRD photo 3553)

Photo 4.19
Photo 4.19

The Sixteenth Street bridge over Deep Run and the Santa Fe Railway were rebuilt by the Corps of Engineers in 2001 for access to their navigation lock. The new bridge, looking northwest from the railroad access road on June 5, 2017, is a four-span precast concrete girder superstructure founded on reinforced concrete piers. Deep Run and the railroad tracks are in the same location as 111 years earlier. (Photo by author)

Photo 4.20
Photo 4.20

The grade of Ninth Street had to be raised to meet the higher elevation of the new bridge crossing the extended Sanitary & Ship Canal. The grade of the seven-arch stone bridge, formerly crossing the Des Plaines River, was raised by building sidewalls and placing fill between the walls. Looking west, work on the side walls is beginning on January 27, 1905, to meet the higher grade in the background at right. (MWRD photo 3060)

Photo 4.21
Photo 4.21

The Ninth Street bridge over the Sanitary & Ship Canal had been open for traffic for four years by July 14, 1910. Looking north, it appears practically identical to the Sixteenth Street bridge, however, it is slightly heavier and longer. The operator’s house for this bridge was also relocated for better visibility. This bridge was transferred to state ownership when the road became a state highway. (MWRD photo 0159A)

Photo 4.22
Photo 4.22

The swing bridge was replaced by this two-lane high-level fixed bridge in 1971 by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Looking north on June 5, 2017, it is the only canal road crossing in nearly eight miles between 135th and Ruby streets. With a rail crossing at grade at its east end, a long wait to cross the canal in Lockport on Ninth Street is often in store for motorists, but the wait shorter than if it were still a swing bridge. (Photo by author)

Photo 4.23
Photo 4.23

June 25, 1906. Construction was progressing rapidly as Lockport Powerhouse foundation and turbine discharge draft tube work was nearing completion. The north and west powerhouse walls were built up and connected to the west wall of the extended Sanitary & Ship Canal. Looking northwest, construction of the exterior walls and internal steel erection are underway. (MWRD photo 3499)

Photo 4.24
Photo 4.24

Looking west on September 19, 1906. Erection of Lockport Powerhouse interior steel framing is progressing and the north concrete wall is complete. The contractor will have the roof completed and the building enclosed before winter. Generators will be mounted on the raised floor in the foreground. A gantry crane will span from the deep riveted girder at left to the north wall at right. (MWRD photo 3512)

Photo 4.25
Photo 4.25

The trash racks have been installed on each of the nine turbine bays by August 30, 1907. Two weeks later water will fill the Lockport Powerhouse forebay, and two months later the turbine/generator units will begin generating electricity. The floating debris skimmed off the water will be burned. The Sanitary & Ship Canal extension is nearing completion. (MWRD photo 3803)

Photo 4.26
Photo 4.26

February 15, 1907. Installation of the turbine water wheels is progressing at the Lockport Powerhouse. Looking downstream in the turbine chamber, the first two of six water wheels are in the right foreground behind the upstream shaft bearing. Hanging from above is an inspection tube that will attach to the second bearing housing. Three bearings are in the turbine chamber and each is fitted with an inspection tube. The fourth bearing is in the powerhouse generator room behind the wall in the back

Photo 4.27
Photo 4.27

Looking east in the Lockport Powerhouse generator room on February 15, 1907. The fourth turbine shaft bearing is on the south side of the north wall at left, and the shaft ends with a flange that will connect to a matching flange on the generator shaft. The generator will be mounted on the concrete in the foreground. The ends of the shafts for three of the first four turbines are shown. (MWRD photo 3630)

Photo 4.28
Photo 4.28

Looking west in the Lockport Powerhouse generator room on February 10, 1919, six of the seven generators are shown. The seventh is behind the photographer. Generators one and two at the far end were replaced with vertical units in 1935. Units 3, 4, 6, and 7 were taken out of service after 1938 when the diversion of Lake Michigan water was curtailed. Generator five remained in standby service until 1973. (MWRD photo 6906)

Photo 4.29
Photo 4.29

Generating unit two in the foreground consists of a rotor inside a stator. The rotor shaft is in line with the turbine shaft. Seven identical generating units were installed and operating by 1911. By December 10, 1907, intermittent generation of electricity at Lockport had been occurring for three weeks. Transmission to Chicago began in 1908 after customers were connected to a distribution network. (MWRD photo 3815)

Photo 4.30
Photo 4.30

The exciters are small direct current generators that create the magnetic field in the stators of the larger alternating current generators. Shown on December 10, 1907, each exciter generator is connected to and driven by a turbine located in a turbine chamber on the opposite side of the wall. Each exciter can supply energy for up to four large alternating current generators. (MWRD photo 3816)

Photo 4.31
Photo 4.31

Installation of generators two and three at left is complete by December 10, 1907, and installation of the fourth generator is in progress. Looking east, behind the south interior wall at right are three transformers for each generator that step up the voltage from 6,600 to 34,000 for transmission to Chicago. Generator one is behind the photographer. (MWRD photo 3824)

Photo 4.32
Photo 4.32

December 11, 1907. Numerous towers like the one shown here lined the east bank of the Sanitary & Ship Canal from the Lockport Powerhouse to the main substation at Western Avenue in Chicago, transmitting electrical energy for distribution to District facilities, municipalities, and private customers. Only a few of the towers remain. (MWRD photo 3832)

Photo 4.33
Photo 4.33

Looking north on December 28, 1906. From left to right is the Lockport Powerhouse, the 12- and 48-foot dams and their sector gates, and the navigation lock. The railroad spur, used to supply the equipment to the powerhouse, remained in place until 1928 when construction of thew new state lock east of the District lock required its removal. (MWRD photo 3845)

Photo 4.34
Photo 4.34

The original sector gates adjacent to the powerhouse were replaced in 1962. Shown on June 5, 2017, the 12-foot sector gate was removed and replaced by a concrete wall and a new metal stairway. The 48-foot sector gate was replaced with a 20-foot wide sluice gate and the remaining opening closed with a concrete wall. The new sluice gate performs the same function as the sector gate it replaced, to pass floating debris collected upstream. (Photo by author)

Photo 4.35
Photo 4.35

Two of the original horizontal generating units were replaced in 1935 with the more efficient vertical Kaplan-type units. Shown on June 5, 2017, the turbine has been preserved as a monument. The blades are adjustable to obtain maximum efficiency. The plaque indicates the turbine delivered 8,500 horsepower under a head of 37.5 feet spinning at 163.6 RPM. The serial number, 8396, served from 1934 to 1999. (Photo by author)

Photo 4.36
Photo 4.36

October 26, 2017. Generating unit number one was installed at the Lockport Powerhouse in 2002. Smaller in size and more efficient, these modern units run continuously supplying renewable energy to the electrical grid in the Chicago area. A turbine similar to the preceding photograph is attached to the vertical shaft beneath the floor and rotates adjacent to a scroll case that entirely surrounds the blades to deliver water to the wheel over a full 360 degrees. (Photo by author)

Photo 4.37
Photo 4.37

October 26, 2017. Two exciter generators are sufficient to supply direct current to the two large alternating current generators. These generators at the Lockport Powerhouse were also installed in 2002. Similar to the bigger units, the driving turbine is below the floor. (Photo by the author)