« May 2011 | Main | October 2011 »

June 2011 Archives

June 21, 2011

Front and Center of Chicago

WBEZ is broadcasting a great series this week about the water connections to Chicago. Reporter Gabriel Spitzer is traveling the Illinois River to explore how Chicago and Lake Michigan are connected to the Mississippi River, while Brian Mann is exploring the St. Lawrence Seaway to see how the other end of the Great Lakes is connected to the larger world.

Both the Sanitary & Ship Channel connecting the Great Lakes to the west, and the St. Lawrence Seaway connecting the Great Lakes to the east are facing similar challenges of keeping out invasive species and conserving the clean water of the lakes.

June 25, 2011

River Pollution of the Past

Today's Chicago Tribune has a full-page feature about the history of pollution in the Chicago River, specifically that most colorful and polluted tributary known as Bubbly Creek, which drained run-off from the Stockyards.

The most fascinating part of the article is a clipping from 1911 about a mugging victim who was tossed from the Ashland bridge into the river unconscious, but survived by floating on the thick layer of filth and debris on top of the river. The South Arm of Bubbly Creek which passed under the bridge had once been the outlet of a large marsh which was filled in when the area was urbanized. Several blocks downstream from here the little stream met the Stockyards Slip, a dredged channel which functioned as the sewage outflow from the vast stockyards, which no doubt backed up into the South Arm as well. This filthiest part of Bubbly Creek was buried underground in the 1920s in an effort to clean up the river.

Another smaller article is a review from 1906 of Upton Sinclair's new novel The Jungle, claiming that the author exaggerated the terrible working conditions in the Stockyards, and the condition of Bubbly Creek. The creek is mentioned briefly in the novel, but is not a big part of the story, just another signifier of the grim living conditions in the Back of the Yards neighborhood where the characters live.

About June 2011

This page contains all entries posted to Down Chicago’s Drain in June 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

May 2011 is the previous archive.

October 2011 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.35