The deep cut revisited

     The original plan for the Illinois and Michigan Canal called for a so called “deep cut”  in the Summit Division.  This was the section from Bridgeport (at the eastern most canal at its origin) to Lockport.   The reason for this was to reverse the flow of the Chicago River into the canal to provide a water source.
     As the construction of the canal ground to a halt because of financial difficulties, an alternative plan was proposed by the chief engineer William Gooding.  This new plan was the shallow cut.  This would be a less costly alternative and would help in the completion of the canal.  This plan consisted in less deep excavation of the Summit Division.  Two additional locks were constructed–one at the junction of the Chicago River and the I M Canal; the second three miles north of Lockport.  At Lock 1, there was a steam driven pumping station.  This pumped water from the Chicago River into the canal.  A feeder canal was constructed  constructed from the Calumet River to the I M Canal.  This was an additional water supply.  The date of the completion is confusing. Some state 1552 others 1848–1849.
     In the 1860’s, the city of Chicago was growing rapidly in population.  As a result of this, there was contamination of the water supply from Lake Michigan.  Contaminated water flowed from the polluted Chicago River into the lake. There were outbreaks of cholera from this contaminated water supply. 
    When solutions were being proposed for this problem,once again William Gooding showed up as a consultant.  Ironically,his proposal was a deep cut in the canal from Bridgeport to Lockport.  This would reverse the course of the Chicago River and water and its pollution would flow into the I M Canal.  Locks 1 and 2 were removed.  The Calumet feeder canal was closed. All this work was completed in 1871.  This proved to be a temporary unsatisfactory solution. Ultimately this was replaced by The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.  But this is a story for another blog

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