Built in 1893, the Chicago Harbor Light marks the entrance to the Chicago River - a waterway once vital to the Midwest. Today, the river supports mainly pleasure boaters and tours, and it's difficult to imagine industry and shipping filling the lake and river. In 1871, an attempt was made to reverse the flow of the Chicago River, so the city's sewage and waste would not flow into Lake Michigan - Chicago's source of drinking water. The reversal was made permanent when a series of locks and dams were constructed in 1900 along with the Sanitary and Ship Canal system. Today, a single lock stands between Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, just south of Navy Pier. If you're on the river, in the lock, you can watch the gates open slowly, and the water from Lake Michigan pour into the lock to equalize the river and lake levels. Once the gates fully open, the Chicago Harbor Light comes into view. The lighthouse was automated in 1979, has a third order Fresnel lens, and is constructed of concrete and cast iron.
Posted by Tom Gill at Wednesday, June 11, 2014