Construction of the Chicago River Controlling Works and Lock on November 16, 1936.
Three views of construction of the Chicago River Controlling Works (CRCW), including the Chicago Harbor Lock, on March 19, 1937. The MWRD built CRCW and the lock between 1936 and 1938, then operated and maintained both until 1984 when the US Army Corps of Engineers took over operations of the lock.
The MWRD continues to operate the CRCW sluice gates. Learn more about how the MWRD uses CRCW and other structures to manage the Chicago Area Waterway System here: https://mwrd.org/chicago-area-waterway-system
[The barge at the end of the cofferdam construction reads Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co.]
[We can see the length of the pilings that they are driving to hold the foundation of the lock.]
|Brandon Ham, Jan 2020|
|Eddie Yung posted|
The good old "S" curve on LSD. Lake Shore Drive.
Ginny Teister Morton This definitive S-Curve photograph, was taken from the Prudential building in 1963 by the venerable Charles Cushman.
Bob Lalich The white buildings along Ogden Slip were known as North Pier Terminal.
|Johnny Conlisk shared his web page|
Navy Pier, possibly in the early 1960s, with 5 ocean-going ships along side. Note the skyline and the FDR Lake Shore Drive Bridge in the distance. This was just after the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway, a system of locks & canals that allowed ships from the Atlantic Ocean to go to the far reaches of the Great Lakes. Only a few years later, the advent of container shipping made it far cheaper to ship containers of goods from foreign ports to US coastal cities and on to Chicago by truck or rail. When that happened the Pier fell into disuse until the 1980s, when it was turned into an entertainment venue. It is currently one of Chicago's most popular tourist destinations. Photo: A Pictorial History of the Great Lakes - Read more about it here http://johnny-sells.com/when-chicago-was-an-international-…/
|David Daruszka posted|
There are now studies being made to separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins (i.e reverse the reversing), but it is because of Asian Carp, not because of the 2013 fear that the Great Lakes were running out of water. In fact, in 2017 Lake Ontario was experiencing record high water levels causing erosion problems and threatening to close down the St. Lawrence Seaway during the shipping season.
The MWRD installed a control lock for two reasons --- water rights and the 1930's 9-foot navigation channel project.
Water rights is a big deal out West. The water of the Colorado River watershed is used by so many different political entities that now it is barely a trickle when it reaches Mexico. For example Denver helped pay for the Moffat Tunnel because it not only has a hole under the Continental Divide for a railroad, it has a hole for water.
In 1909, a Boundary Waters Treaty between the United States and Canada was written to form a commission to regulate water use with this sequence of priorities; domestic & sanitary, navigation, and power & irrigation. Since, at that time, Canada was a providence of England, the treaty was ratified by William Taft and King Edward VII. There were several rivers in dispute, but the Chicago Diversion lowering the lake level by 6 inches was one of the motivators for a commission to consider the "big picture." [Wikipedia1] Compacts were written in 1985, 2001, and 2005-2015 to detail how the states and Providences use the Great Lakes water supply. (The 2005-2015 range is an example of why I tend to ignore legal aspects of industrial history. An "agreement" was signed in 2005. A "compact" was written in 2007 to document details of usage. It became law in the US in 2008. But changes were needed to satisfy Canada before "coming fully into force" in 2015. [Wikipedia2, Wikipedia3]
As part of digging the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CS&SC), MWRD also widened and deepened the Chicago River to increase the amount of water that would flow from the lake.
Because Wisconsin sued Illinois to quit draining Lake Michigan to flush its sewage down the river, MWRD started building Wastewater Treatment Plants (WTP) after the Supreme Court agreed with Wisconsin in 1929. [Wikipedia4]
9-Foot Navigation Channel
|Chicago Tonight, 2013|
|Street View, 2017|
Furthermore, the EPA now understands how many toxins are in the river sediment. The Chicago Tribune built its new printing plant along the Chicago River because it planned on receiving newsprint from boats as it had at its old plant. But the EPA would not allow them to dredge the river to make room for the boats because they determined the river sediment was full of toxic material. Dredging would allow the toxins to escape into the water. Opening the lock gates to allow a strong river current might also stir up the river sediments.