West by Southwest to Stickney

Chapter 1 Photos

City Sewers and Eliminating Discharge to the Lake

Photo 1.1
Photo 1.1

An undated view of brick sewer construction. The laborers are removing wood lagging from the upper half of the circular section of the sewer and cleaning excess mortar from the invert. After laying brick to complete the lower half, the lagging was installed on a wooden framework to support the laying of bricks for the upper half. Lagging removal awaited completion of backfilling the open cut sewer trench. (Photo from the cover of a 1956 Chicago department of public works report.)

Photo 1.2
Photo 1.2

Looking northeast on October 21, 1927, the Thirty-Ninth Street Pumping Station on the lakefront. Completed in 1907, the station was in service until 1940. The station was built by the City of Chicago and then turned over to the District for operation and maintenance. The outline of the main building, less the additions and gable roof, is still in use, but not for pumping, and can be seen from the Oakwood Boulevard bridge over the Metra tracks. (MWRD photo 13526)

Photo 1.3
Photo 1.3

Looking towards the west on December 12, 1908, three of the four raw sewage pumps are shown in the interior of the Thirty-Ninth Street Pumping Station. The nearest pump is left of center in the foreground and is driven by the three horizontal steam pistons at the ends of the horizontal drive rods. (MWRD photo 3967)

Photo 1.4
Photo 1.4

In the interior of the Thirty-Ninth Street Pumping Station on December 12, 1908: This view overlooks the steam drive mechanism for the two horizontal axial flow lake water pumps under the pump room floor. Most City-built sewage and water pumping stations utilized steam to drive the pumps. (MWRD photo 3966)

Photo 1.5
Photo 1.5

Under construction on October 20, 1925, the southwest addition to the Thirty-Ninth Street Pumping Station will enclose two additional pumps to handle increasing amounts of combined sewage and stormwater flowing in from the lakefront intercepting sewer. Unlike the earlier pumps, the new pumps were the horizontal axis centrifugal type, similar to pumps installed by the District at new pumping stations and treatment works. (MWRD photo 12186)

Photo 1.6
Photo 1.6

Looking down onto the pump floor on August 5, 1926, in the addition to the Thirty-Ninth Street Pumping Station: The two new combined sewage and stormwater pumps. Unique in this application, one electrical motor drives both pumps. (MWRD photo 12894)

Photo 1.7
Photo 1.7

Looking east toward Lake Michigan from the Thirty-Ninth Street Pumping Station on January 4, 1927. Intake screens for incoming lake water are shown in the foreground, while in the background, a new bridge for South Lake Shore Drive is under construction. The lakefront was being filled in by the City of Chicago to create more lakefront parkland and the roadway. The longer inlet channel for lake water pumping allowed more sand deposition before pumping lake water. (MWRD photo 13152)

Photo 1.8
Photo 1.8

Sewage diluted with lake water is discharging from the larger outfall for the Thirty-Ninth St. conduit at Halsted St. looking east on August 14, 1922, into the East Arm of the South Fork. Undiluted raw sewage from local sewers in the nearby neighborhood is being discharged through the small outfall. The open sewer west to Racine Ave. will be enclosed in a large sewer by 1928 allowing the completion of a roadway for Thirty-Ninth Street between Halsted St. and Ashland Ave. (MWRD photo 9394)

Photo 1.9
Photo 1.9

Looking southwest at the Thirty-Ninth St. conduit cleanout work at Normal Ave. on September 28, 1923. Collapse of a section of the brick arch beneath this intersection resulted in the deposition of solids on the sewer invert for a distance over one mile. Divers were needed to assist in removal of the accumulated debris. Air for the divers was supplied by two manually operated air pumping machines, one at right and the other behind the stiff-leg derrick. (MWRD photo 10120)

Photo 1.10
Photo 1.10

Many of the onlookers appear to be more interested in the photographer than the Thirty-Ninth Street conduit cleanout work in progress on December 17, 1923, at Cottage Grove Avenue. Looking north along the east side of Cottage Grove, the scene is similar to what was going on at Normal Avenue three months earlier. Cottage Grove was the upstream extent of the deposition of solids caused by the blockage at Normal Avenue, over 1.5 miles downstream. (MWRD photo 10388)