Goose Island is a man made island located in the North branch of the Chicago River. The land of the island was initially owned by the I and M Canal. The Canal Commissioners sold the property to raise funds for the canal project. Over the years, there were multiple owners. Eventually, in 1853, it was purchased by the Chicago Land Company. The major stock holder was William Ogden. In the 1850’s, he arranged for a project to build a canal at the east border of the land.
The project started in the South and extended to the North end. The workers dredged a channel that was 50 feet wide and 10 feet deep. The channel connected to the North Branch of the Chicago River at its North and South ends. It was completed in 1857. The canal was known as the North Branch Canal or Ogden’s Canal. The island was called Goose Island or Ogden Island. The dredged clay from the project was used in local area brick yards or as land fill.
The island is 1.5 miles long and .5 mile wide. It is bordered on the North by North Avenue. It is bordered on the South by Chicago Avenue. On the east it is bordered by North Branch Canal. The border on the west is the North branch of Chicago River.
The island is crossed from east to west by the Division Street Bridge over the North Branch Canal and the bridge over north branch Chicago River. It is crossed from north to south by the Halsted Street Bridges. Railroad access is from the north on the Cherry Avenue Bridge. This is currently owned by the Chicago Terminal R.R.
By the late 1880’s, there were two grain elevators, 11 coal yard and a single railroad. Housing although always present was never a significant presence on the island.
Fairly recent developments included: new warehouses; warehouses reconfigured for modern manufacturing or creative loft office space. Wrigley Corporation built a new research and development facility. The former Sara Lee Building has been redeveloped for use by Kendall College. There is an adaptive re-use warehouse renovation at 909 W. Bliss.