Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Chicago River Revitalized

One civic renovation project that I wholeheartedly support is cleaning up the Chicago River. The Chicago River runs right through downtown, and in fact the "River" in "River North" means, obviously, that we live north of the Chicago River.

I didn't live in Chicago decades ago but apparently the Chicago River used to be in terrible shape. Famously, the flow of the Chicago River was reversed so that foul water was pushed away from Lake Michigan (where it impacted the water supply) and down towards... well... St. Louis. Wikipedia has a nice page on the Chicago River, along with information about all the bridges that line the river and of course the St. Patrick's Day tradition of dyeing it green.

Colorful kayaks are a common sight on the River, when it isn't frozen, of course.

Here is a photo I caught recently of a wedding party that took a photo by the abandoned bridge (in the perpetual "up" position) on the Kinzie bridge. They probably had their reception at the East Bank Club which is only a block or so away (I don't think that the bride walked that far in her dress).

Finally - here is something odd. A "fish hotel". I saw this near a bridge and down by the waterline and had no idea of what it was. A guy seemed to be "sweeping" the water near the edge. I looked online and it provides sanctuary for fish - here is a link to an interesting web site describing the function, which apparently has been going on for several years, since this site references 2006.

1 comment:

Mike (Los Angeles, CA) said...

I lived in Chicago in 1971-80 and the thought of kayaking in the Chicago river then was crazy.

About 1975, I remember hearing that kid fell in the north branch of the river, I think near Touhy and McCormick. He was rescued unhurt but was rushed to a hospital for shots of antibiotics.

The Deep Tunnel project was being built then. I think it was tunnels along the same route as the river, a couple hundred feet below ground to carry dirty water that would otherwise flow into the Chicago River.

Is that what cleaned up the river? What a joy to be able to enjoy the River now.