Dick Lanyon Discusses the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in Lyons Saturday at 1pm

This coming Saturday at 1pm, author and former head engineer of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Dick Lanyon discusses the construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal at the Village of Lyons Community Center (4200 S. Lawndale Avenue in Lyons).

Construction of the Sanitary & Ship Canal (source: Encyclopedia of Chicago)

Chicago was the fastest growing city in the late 1800s because of the I&M Canal and the railroads that followed. But its location on the bed of old Glacial Lake Chicago had one big disadvantage – poor drainage. Cholera and typhoid were rampant and Chicago had one of the highest mortality rates in the U.S. The Chicago River was a public nuisance, polluted and smelly.

The Lockport Lock on the Sanitary & Ship Canal in Will County, IL, about 35 miles from downtown Chicago
(source: IL EPA)

The building of a new canal solved these problems and allowed the city to continue to grow, the mortality rate plummeted and the river became enjoyable. Building the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal required the creation of a new government and the development of pioneering construction technology that helped build the Panama Canal. The reversal of the Chicago River remains a wonder of the world and remains critical to a sustainable future for the Chicago metropolis.

Lanyon’s new book, Building the Canal To Save Chicago,  is available here, at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com and he will have copies for sale at this presentation.  For more information, visit Friends of the Chicago Portage’s website.

Here at Roosevelt University, Professor Mike Bryson has made water a central aspect of his teaching, devoting assignments, field trips, and entire courses to the role of water in the Chicago area. This fall, he offers SUST 220 Water as a hybrid course meeting several Saturdays and online, with select field trips to places like the North Branch of the Chicago River and to sites along the route of the Sanitary and Ship Canal in the Southwest Suburbs, such as the Chicago Portage National Historic Site. This course is planned for the Schaumburg Campus this coming spring of 2013.

If you are interested in taking any of our courses, please contact your RU academic advisor for registration details. If you are not currently a Roosevelt University student, we encourage you to investigate our degree options, and our course listings. For more information, please visit our Sustainability Studies website, call 1-877-277-5978 (1-877-APPLY RU) or email applyRU@roosevelt.edu.

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