In planning and building the Illinois Michigan Canal, it was only logical that William Gooding (Chief Engineer of the I and M canal) would consult with someone with more experience than him. He chose Benjamin Wright. He had been chief engineer for the Erie Canal and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. They developed the plans for the 15 I and M Canal locks in 1837. These were to be 18 feet in width and 110 feet in length. Stone for the lock chambers was mined locally. Natural and hydraulic cement was used to join the stone blocks. The gates of the locks were made of timber. Most were constructed during the period from 1846-1848. The locks were kept in place until the 1930’s. The CCC did extensive renovation during the depression years.
Lock 15 was the most western lock. It had a lift of 11.52 feet. It was situated between the steamboat basin and the canal boat basin. The lock has been submerged since the 1930’s. The gates have been removed.
Contractors involved in the construction included : Cooper, Sanger, Grubles.