The Norton Building was a warehouse. It also boarded mule drivers. Before grain elevators were invented, it warehoused grain in sacks like another remaining canal-side structure did in Seneca. But the Seneca structure specialized in grain warehousing; so after the invention of the elevator, it was converted to a grain elevator. As a general purpose warehouse, Norton must have lost the grain business.
On the left, past the parking lot, we see a glimpse of the Gaylord Building. To the right of the locomotive we see buildings along the north side of 9th Street (IL-7) and the backs of buildings on the west side of State Street (IL-171).
THE NORTON BUILDING
Built in the 1850s, shortly after the opening of the I & M Canal, the Norton Building contained a grain warehouse and a grocery for farmers and citizens of Lockport, and a canal supplies store for boat crews, It also served as a crew dormitory. [The smaller building on the roof.]
During the 50-year heyday of the I & M Canal, Hiram Norton and Company helped establish Lockport as an important grain processing center, and became the town's major employer.
A footbridge, pictured, once crossed the Canal at this point. The small stone building, standing to the left, was formerly a grain weight station.
The waters of the I & M Canal came up to the edge of the Norton Building originally, as evidenced by the large rings on the wall which were used to tie up canal boats. While the Canal has been filled and narrowed since, an existing section of the stone facing can still be seen on the opposite side.
rod anchor plates above each window edge,
"...I have had nothing so much at heart as the good of the canal."
Chief engineer for the I&M Canal, William Gooding directed a remarkable enginering feat: the constuction of a 96-mile canal through muddy, rocky, swampy and insect-infested terrain. Gooding carried his large field map with him when he was out inpsecting construction of the canal.
Edward Retz (1826-1900)
Edward Retz came to the United States from Europe with $4.50 in his pocket. His first job was as a mule driver on the I&M Canal. For ten or more hours each day, he drove a team of mules along the towpath as they pulled the 150-ton canal boats. The most famous mule driver on the canal later became known as "Wild Bill" Hickok, the well-known lawman.
Lock #1, which is at the southern end of the 120' foot wide part through Lockport. All of the trees past the end of the lock and to the right of the towpath embankment would not have existed because that area would have been under water. I don't like the photos I got around Lock #1, so this picture is basically a placeholder until I make another trip to try to find some better angles of the canal upstream of Lock #1.
Update: When the deep-cut was finished in 1871, the original plan of using hydropower in Lockport was implemented. A hydraulic basin and several businesses were built between the upper-pool of Lock #1 and the Des Plaines River to exploit the unlimited supply of water from Lake Michigan and the 19.35' head between the canal and the river. My understanding is that Norton owned these businesses.
|lewisu-27, Figure 12|