Fox River Feeder Canal

For a period of time in the history of the Illinois Michigan Canal, there was a feeder canal present originating near Dayton, Illinois and proceeding south and west to intersect the main canal in Ottawa.

The feeder originated from the Fox River just above a dam.  It was 4.7 miles in length.  It was 40 feet wide at the surface; 26 feet at the bottom.   Its depth was 4 feet. It had its own towpath.  It was navigable by small vessels.  There were mills and grain elevators along its course.  The feeder had a troubled history.  In 1871, when the course of the Chicago River was reversed, it was allowed to dry up.    During the depression, its bed was mined for coal.

Contractors associated with this feeder canal include:  Howe, Hall, Lord, Green, Stratton, Donovan, Nadder and Walker.


Site of a towpath bridge across the later canal. Looking north along the course of the Fox River Feeder


Dayton Dam Fox River. Note this is not the original dam at the time of the Fox River Feeder

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