Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Interpretive Digital Essay : Water in Chicago
Essay: People and the Port
Photo Essays:
Solitary Lives
City of Bridges
Chicago Harbors
Essay: Using the Chicago River
Photo Essays:
Goose Island
Indiana Dunes
Essay: Sanitation in Chicago
Photo Essays:
The Sanitary and Ship Canal
Water-Related Epidemics
Essay: Water and Urban Life
Photo Essays:
Houses and Water
Shoreline Development
Growing Up Along Water
Constructing the Sanitary and Ship Canal

Section between Robey Street (Damen Avenue) and Summit

Work began in 1892 on the easternmost section of the canal, 7.8 miles running from the South Branch of the Chicago River to Summit, from the South Side of the City of Chicago to suburban Cook County. Located on the Chicago Lake Plain, this section was built through layers of soil. Chief Engineer Isham Randolph described the efforts in verse:

dredges heaved their dippers

filled with virgin clay

took away by tugs

Dredging the River, 17 August 1894

Improvements included dredging sections of the South Branch of the Chicago River to allow for larger ships to pass, as well as to deepen the river to assure that water would flow southwestward away from Lake Michigan.

See also: Bridgeport; Chicago River

Steam Shovels, 10 July 1895

The easternmost section of the canal was dug through layers of soil. In contrast to the building of the Illinois and Michigan Canal in the 1840s where virtually all of the digging was done by hand, steam shovels played an integral role in the construction of the Sanitary and Ship Canal.

See also: Water