Before and After
The construction of the Sanitary and Ship Canal was an enormous undertaking, but with an equally enormous reward: reversal of the flow of the Chicago River. By 1907 a new water connection had been created between the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. As Isham Randolph, the canal's chief engineer described:
There was daring, there was genius
There was brain and there was brawn
And from their gendered labor
Twas a River that was born
Before and After Water Release on the Sanitary and Ship Canal, January 16, 1900
The landscape changed dramatically with the construction of the main channel of the Sanitary and Ship Canal and then was transformed again when water was released into the channel.
Santa Fe Railroad Bridge at Lemont, October 18, 1899
In all, 13 new bridges had to be constructed so that existing roads and railroads could traverse the space now occupied by the canal. This view shows the Santa Fe Railroad Bridge before water is released into the channel below it.
Santa Fe Railroad Bridge at Lemont, April 3, 1900
This is a view of the Santa Fe Railroad Bridge after water has been released into the channel in the winter of 1900.
The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago © 2005 Chicago Historical Society.
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