One of the more interesting historical stories was the choice of Lockport as the canal headquarter city. This was a choice made by William Gooding–chief engineer and the Canal Commissioners. The village was felt to be a central location. It was fairly close to Chicago–a rapidly developing metropolis. Probably more important in the opinion of Mr. Gooding was the 40 foot drop between Lockport and Joliet. He was a big supporter in the value of water power in the development of the canal area. A hydraulic basin was planned and built to the west of the canal. This region supported a large flour mill and a paper factory.
The actual canal headquarter building was built in 1837. The original building was one story. It housed the engineer office; land office (land was sold from the federal grant).
Later there was the canal telegraph office and a branch of the Illinois Bank.
A two story wing was added to the south side of the original building. This served as housing for the canal manager and the toll collector.
In later years, after the demise of the canal, this building served as the Will County Historical Society and the Will County Museum.