The Illinois and Michigan Canal: A Contemporary Perspective in Essays and Photographs

Jim Redd

Anno: 2006
Rilegatura: Hardback
Pagine: 113 p.
Testo in English
Dimensioni: 260 x 184 mm
Peso: 544 gr.
  • EAN: 9780809316601
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Merging narration with exhibition-quality photographs, weaving history, geology, and even a touch of romance around good graphic evidence of what the canal has become today, Jim Redd takes us on a personal journey down the Illinois and Michigan Canal as it follows the Des Plaines and Illinois rivers from Chicago to La Salle. A friend's tale of a canoe trip down the Illinois and Michigan Canal inspired Redd - armed with a large-format (4 x 5) camera - to embark on his own expedition, exploring the whole of what the canal means now and what it has meant. His camera, of necessity, looks at the present, an old ruin of a canal out of use for half a century; but in his mind's eye he sees the beginning, the time before the glacier inched south. He contemplates the two hundred years when the "ice flowing from the north just balanced the melting loss; the moving ice was like a continental conveyer belt, dumping tons of entrained rubble and granite from as far away as the Canadian Shield." He envisions the trappers, travelers, and traders who crossed the terrain - this Mud Lake. He brings back the days when Pere Jacques Marquette brought the Jesuit message to the frontier. Redd also tells what the canal did for the region, how it bolstered Chicago from a town of 1,200 at the time of the 1836 groundbreaking ceremony to a city of 74,000 after six years of operation in 1854. During the peak traffic - the 1860s through the 1880s - more than five million tons of freight passed through the canal, generating a million dollars in tolls. It opened a trade route from the East Coast to the Gulf of Mexico, this canal created by men who "shoveled sludge and mud for a dollar a day in that swampy ditch,infested with mosquitos and festering with malaria. Those who survived got a piece of land at a bargain; those who did not got a much smaller plot [on Mount Forest Island] and in other cemeteries along the canal route." The Illinois and Michigan Canal has been dormant since 1933, but on