The Chicago Portage – A Lasting Gift – Lecture Series
April 29 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
“The Chicago Portage – A Lasting Gift”
Presented by Richard Lanyon
The Chicago Portage is not just history; it is still a main vein of Midwest commerce. Local author and historian Dick Lanyon takes us on a journey through the development of a waterway route that includes the Chicago Portage, and connects the Chicago River’s South Branch with the Des Plaines River in Joliet. Dick traces how the portage route was first exploited to build a modest canal and railroads for commercial purposes, then developed into a larger canal to divert city wastewater away from Lake Michigan. Finally, he explores how the precise location of the ancient subcontinental divide is critical in accounting for the Chicago area’s allowance of Lake Michigan’s water as mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Richard Lanyon is a scientist, author of “Building the Canal to Save Chicago” and others about the development of Chicago’s waterways, and the former executive director of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.
Friends of the Chicago Portage will present four free public history lectures in its 2023 Lecture Series celebrating the discovery, location and development of the Chicago Portage. Accomplished local authors, historians and storytellers will explore the colorful history of how the passage of a pair of Frenchmen though the Portage 350 years ago led to the birth of a city, and how subsequent improvements created Chicago. All four lectures will begin at 1 p.m. on the last Saturday of January – April, at the Lyons Public Library located at 4209 Joliet Ave., in Lyons.