Wednesday, November 16, 2016

November 16, 1892 -- Sanitary and Ship Canal Planning Begins




November 16, 1892 – With 29 miles of the land for the proposed Sanitary and Ship Canal channel from the Chicago River to within a mile of Lockport under contract, the board of the Chicago Sanitary District considers a motion to appoint a board of consulting engineers to find answers to four pressing issues.  They include:  (1) “the disposal of flood waters form all drainage areas which materially mollify or affect the sanitary condition of the district; (2) the supplemental works and measures within the limits of the Sanitary District best adapted to create a sanitary condition of the same, special reference being had to the exclusion of sewage from the lake and the proper sanitation of the North Branch and tributary territory; (3) the supplemental works and inlets necessary to furnish the main drainage channel with a supply of water from the lake sufficient to fill the requirements of the Sanitary District law in view of the present and probably future population of the district and in view of any incidental and commercial features which may contribute to the best interests of the Sanitary District and the City of Chicago; and (4) the works and treatment needed between the lower end of the Section 14 above Lockport and Lake Joliet to properly dispose of the water brought down by the main channel in addition to the flood water, said works being considered with reference to the ultimate necessity of the General Government constructing a navigable channel throughout the reach connecting with the main channel of the sanitary district and to any incidental commercial advantages which the situation presents.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, December 17, 1892]  In short, the process of reversing the flow of the Chicago River, a project that will consume eight years and which will move more earth than the digging of the Panama Canal two decades later, has begun.  The above photo shows the great canal under construction four years later in 1906.

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