We Write.

“We write every day, we fight every day, we think and scheme and dream a little dream every day. Manuscripts pile up in the kitchen sink, run-on sentences dangle around our necks. We plant purple prose in our gardens and snip the adverbs only to thread them in our hair. We write with no guarantees, no certainties, no promises of what might come and we do it anyway. This is who we are.” -Tareheh Mafi

Friday, January 17, 2014

Along the Illinois and Michigan Canal

Along the I & M Canal

The Illinois and Michigan canal provided the first complete water route from the east coast to the Gulf of Mexico by connecting Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River. The waterway was used by Native Americans and traders from the 1600s, until 1823 when Illinois created a Canal Commission to oversee design and construction of the canal. 

The canal was completed in 1848, at a cost of $6.5 million. It begins at the south branch of the Chicago River at Bridgeport and extends 96 miles to the Illinois River at LaSalle. Originally 60 feet wide and 6 feet deep, the canal has fifteen 15 locks. Commercial traffic was accomplished by barges pulled by mules or horses walking on the towpaths.

In 1933, the Illinois Waterway was completed and the I & M Canal was closed to navigation. Since then, the canal has been developed for recreation, with the addition of shelters and picnic areas and renovation of the tow path for hiking and bicycling.

Locks on the canal that took the barges from elevation to elevation.

History abounds!
Fortunes were made and lost here through the years
Abandoned factories which once supported growing communities on the canal.
The old mule barn
Water traffic is slower now along the canal but still exists.

Photos by Joyce Lavene


  1. These photos are beautiful and a little haunting. I love the blue Victorian!