Lewis University Adele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
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Illinois and Michigan Canal (Joliet, Illinois)
Illinois and Michigan Canal (Joliet, Illinois)
TitleIllinois and Michigan Canal (Joliet, Illinois)
CreatorWilliams, Adele Fay
Date of the DrawingFebruary 17, 1929
DescriptionDrawing of Illinois and Michigan Canal in Joliet, Illinois. This drawing is a part of the Robert E. Sterling Collection.
Title of ArticleA tranquil Joliet scene
Transcript of the ArticleFrom the Joliet Herald-News Sunday February 17, 1929 "Here is a view of the picturesque old Illinois and Michigan canal, which may soon change its shining face into something bigger and better and deeper and wider and altogether more brilliant and important. The picturesque old canals of this early country seem to have outlived their leisurely usefulness in this age of speeding things up. Yet it is doubtful if anything will take the place of the old canals for beauty, picturesqueness and sentiment. The Illinois and Michigan canal is a thing of beauty in all its reaches, whether in town or country. And the older it grows the more beautiful it becomes. And never do haphazard old sheds, old fences, old relics of early buildings grown up on the canal bank in the most accidental way—never do they acquire so poetic a beauty as when seen with their watery reflections in the colorful distance. The view in the accompanying sketch is made looking north towards the Jackson street bridge and dam, a bit of which may be seen in the distance. It is a historic old stream and bears the marks of hard knocks. The first appropriation of $10, 000 was made by congress for a preliminary survey of the canal, and for the survey of the 20 mile strip. It was Shadrack Bond, the first governor of Illinois, who had called attention in his first message, to the importance and the feasibility of the work. A survey was made under the appropriation of the work was pronounced practicable. In 1826, for the purpose of its construction, congress donated to the state, every alternate section in a strip 10 miles wide along the route from Chicago to LaSalle, the magnificent appropriation of 300, 000 acres. Board is Created. In 1829 the board of canal commissioners was created and authorized to sell the lands, giving settlers pre-emption rights at the same time under this act many of the early settlers gained their titles to land in the vicinity. But the law makers, seeing the folly of this act, repealed it soon after. Another act and another canal hoard, followed in 1834 and 1835, authorizing the governor to negotiate bonds for construction of the canal and pledging the canal lands for their redemption. But even then the immerse value of these lands was not appreciated by those who had money to loan. It was not until a special session in 1835 amended the act so as to pledge the faith of the state for their redemption that the bonds could be negotiated. This was done by Governor Duncan in 1836, and also in the same year preparations were commenced for active work. William B. Archer, Gurdon S. Hubbard and William S. Thornton, every one a colonel, as were most public men of that time, were the first commissioners. Gooding First Engineer. William Gooding was chosen for the first engineer, and James B. Fry, another colonel, became a member. The first ground was broken at Bridgeport, July 4, 1836, when the event was celebrated in grand style, as has been chronicled often. Dr. William B. Egan made the able address, where the work was begun on the ‘deep cut, ' feeding directly from Lake Michigan, thru the south branch of the Chicago river. And there followed a season of wild speculation with prices both mounting and falling. The laborer's hire was from $20 to $30 a month, with board. The pork ‘barrel' cost from $20 to $30. Flour ran from $9 to $12. It was at this time that ‘Archer's Road' was opened to facilitate the construction of the canal, costing $40, 000. And of course there was doubt expressed as to the wisdom of this expenditure as always. The work on the canal was paid for by means of money obtained from the sale of bonds and of canal lands and lots in Chicago, Lockport, Ottawa and LaSalle. The debt of the canal and all costs of construction and interest were paid from its own resources in the year 1871, the canal surrendering to the state with a balance of $95, 742. Such is the tale of the archives."
SubjectWilliams, Adele Fay
Joliet (Ill.) -- History
Physical Description30 cm. x 22.5 cm.
SourceClick this link for more historical information on the Joliet area - http://lewisu.edu/imcanal
Publisher (Digital)Lewis University
RightsAll rights held by Lewis University. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this image, please contact the Howard and Lois Adelmann Regional History Collection at Lewis University at 815-836-5665.
CollectionAdele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
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