Friedman Fine Art and http://www.chicago-photographs.com are pleased to present this gorgeous historic Chicago River Photograph from 1930.
Pictured is an image of the historic Chicago River. Named “Chicagoua” after the smelly garlic plant found on the banks of the river once used by Native Americans. However, this would not be last time the Chicago River would have an odor problem. Pollution was a major issue for the growing city in the 19th century specifically in the river; in addition to businesses dumping their waste into the river, raw sewage flowed into is as well which in turn began to pollute the city’s clean water supply. Later, a proposal to reverse the flow of the river and to form a commission dedicated to sanitation.
By 1900 the Chicago River was cleaned of all the major impurities. Over the years, smaller rivers and canals were built to join the river together giving it a length of about 156 miles divided into two branches, North (as far north as Niles) and South (the downtown Chicago area) that converge at Wolf Point (Fulton Street) to form the main stem (Lake Michigan). Bridges that could move up and down for the passage of tall ships and boats were built to facilitate their passage and tunnels were built for traffic to not be disrupted during these periods are still in use today.
In 1915 Chicago’s most devastating tragedy occurred on the river when the Eastland boat overturned killing 844 people.
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