Revenue to build the I M Canal


Aux Sable lock

     Finances were always a difficult matter in the construction of the I M Canal.  The original federal grant provided the land for the canal plus 90 feet on both sides.  Timber in this area could be sold to raise money.  However this was not found to be adequate.  A new federal bill of 1827 provided large tracts of land that could be sold to raise money.  Once again this did not provide adequate funding.  The state was require to issue bonds at various times to finance the canal project.  These bonds eventually had to be paid off with interest.  Funds were obtained from further land sales, land and water power rents, interest from savings, sales of lumbar, stone, and used machinery.  Once the canal was finished in 1848, revenue was generated from tolls.  There were originally toll houses in Chicago, Lockport, Ottawa, and LaSalle.  The only remaining house is in Ottawa.  The Canal loans were paid off at a reported cost of 6.5 million dollars in 1871.  However, a more accurate estimate of total debt was nearer to 8 million.

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