Although not directly located on the Illinois Michigan Canal, Dayton was connected to it by the Fox River Feeder Canal.
Dayton is a small town north of Ottawa on the Fox River. In the 1800’s,it was quite an active community. It was the site of the first flour mill in the county. It was also the site of the first woolen mill run by water in the state of Illinois. It also had a tannery, saw mill, wagon shop, and a chair factory.
Near Dayton, a dam was built on the Fox River. It’s purpose was to force water into a feeder canal which intersected the Illinois Michigan Canal in Ottawa. The dam was 8 feet high and 470 feet long. It was constructed of 2 inch wood planks forming a crib filled with stones and gravel. The dam was subjected to the vagaries of the weather. It ultimately was completely destroyed in 1904. It was never rebuilt.
At the entrance of the feeder, there was a guard lock. It’s purpose was to regulate the water level. In this same area, there was a lock keeper’s house. The feeder canal was 4 feet deep and 40 feet wide. It was completed in the early 1840’s.
In 1925, a dam and power house were built on the Fox River at Dayton. This was a business for the production and sale of electrical power. The company name was North Counties Hydro-Electric Power. This facility operated continuously until 1996. It was out of commission until 1998. It resumed operations in 1998. It has functioned since. It was sold to North AmericanHydro, Inc.
The town of Dayton never prospered like adjacent Ottawa. The population was 553 in 2016
Dayton Hydroelectric Dam