Illinois and Mississippi Canal

The object of the improvement is to furnish a link in a navigable waterway from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River at the mouth of Rock River, Illinois. The canal has been located on the Rock Island route, approved by the Secretary of War October 27, 1888, as directed in the act of Congress of August 11, 1888. It proceeds from the Illinois River at its great bend. one and three-quarters miles above the town of Hennepin, Illinois; thence via Bureau Creek Valley and over the summit to Rock River at the mouth of Green River: thence by slack water in Rock River and a canal around the, lower rapids of the river at Milan town the Mississippi River at the mouth of Rock River. The canal is to be at. least eighty feet wide at the water surface, seven feet deep, and with locks one hundred and seventy feet long and thirty-five feet width of lock chamber, capable of passing barges carrying six hundred tons (maximum) freight. A report upon the location, with detailed estimate of cost, of this canal was submitted June 21, 1890, and is printed in the Annual Report of the Chief of Engineers for 1890, page 2586. The river and harbor act of September 19, 1890, made the first appropriation for the construction of the canal, and directed work to be begun by the construction of one of the locks and dams in Rock River. In accordance with this act work was begun in July, 1892, near the mouth of Rock River, on the construction of a canal around the lower rapids of the river, and since that date has been prosecuted as rapidly as the appropriation of funds permitted. The survey work in locating the canal on the ground and proceedings for acquiring title to the right of way have been completed, and the canal has been definitely located on the ground through-out its ‘entire extent. The river and harbor act of March 3, 1905, authorizes the Secretary of War, in his discretion, to construct a fixed dam with movable crest in Rock River, in lieu of the lock and dam at or near Sterling, Illinois, provided for by the approved project, the said dam with movable crest to be built from funds already appropriated or authorized for the construction of the canal and to constitute a part of the project for its construction. The river and harbor act of June 3, 1896, placed the work under the continuing con-tract system and limited the average amount of contract liability to be incurred in any one fiscal year to $400,000. There has been expended on this work to the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1908, $7,319,563.39. The result of this expenditure has been: First. The acquisition of the right of way for four and one-half miles around the lower rapids of Rock River and the completion of four and one-half miles of canal there, involving the construction of four and one-half miles of earthwork, three locks, one railroad and two highway swing bridges, seven sluice-ways and gates, one arch culvert, two dams 1,392 feet long across the arms of Rock River, three lock-keepers’ houses, one small office building, a thorough riprapping of the canal banks (not included in the original estimates), and construction by contract of Moline wagon bridge, at a cost of $25,000, which was not included in the original estimate. Second. The acquisition of right of way for the main line and navigable feeder, completion of all railway and highway bridges, locks, culverts, aqueducts; execution of all earthwork and completion of dam and con-trolling works at head of feeder; erection of fourteen houses and partial completion of twenty-five houses for overseers and lock tenders. The canal was filled with water and formally opened to navigation October 24, 1907. Operating force has been organized and since January 1, 1908, the work has been maintained under the indefinite appropriation for operating and care of canals and other works of navigation, the completion of construction work progressing at the same time. The entire work embraced in the original project for the canal, as modified by subsequent projects and plans as the work has progressed, may be summarized as follows: Surveys and location upon the ground; acquisition of right of way and fencing; construction of-ninety-five and eight-tenths miles of earthwork; sixty-seven highway bridges; one farm bridge; three pontoon bridges; eight railroad bridges; nine aqueducts; fifty-two culverts (increased to sixty-two); thirty-three locks; nine sluiceways and gates; three dams; nineteen houses (increased to thirty-nine) ; outlet to Rock River; new highway on mile sixteen; improvement of eight and five-tenths miles of Rock River; Moline wagon bridge (not in original estimate). The work thus far completed may be summarized as follows : Surveys and location upon the ground; acquisition of right of way and fencing; construction of-ninety-five and eight-tenths miles of earthwork; sixty-seven highway bridges; one farm bridge; eight railroad bridges; nine aqueducts; sixty-two culverts; thirty-three locks; thirty-four sluice gates; three dams; fourteen houses and part of twenty-five additional; new highway on mile sixteen; Moline wagon bridge; one pontoon bridge; part of dredging in Rock River; emergency gates, mile twenty-three. The work remaining to be done consists of completing twenty-five houses, dredging in Rock River, and miscellaneous work of revetment, bank protection and finishing.

 

Early Settlements of Rock Island County 

 

Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908