$24.00

(1 customer review)

Learn about the sights, sounds, and challenges encountered by a family-owned canal boat on a journey from LaSalle-Peru to Chicago, just before the American Civil War. Author & illustrator Tom Willcockson’s well-researched and gorgeously-detailed maps and illustrations in this 84-page book provide fascinating insights into a way of life few of us can imagine today.

1000 in stock

SKU: Passage-Book Category:

Description

Before there were planes, trains, and automobiles, there were waterways and canals to carry goods and passengers from the Midwest to a larger world far away. During the mid-19th century, mule-drawn canal boats by the hundreds traveled a liquid superhighway called the Illinois & Michigan Canal, an economic thoroughfare that spurred the growth of towns like LaSalle, Ottawa, and Joliet along its banks, in addition to helping found the now-famous inland port city called Chicago.

Author and illustrator Tom Willcockson has worked closely with I&M Canal Corridor Association to recreate the sights, sounds, and challenges encountered by a family-owned canal boat on a journey from LaSalle-Peru to Chicago, just before the American Civil War. Tom Willcockson’s well-researched and gorgeously-detailed maps and illustrations in this 84-page book provide fascinating insights into a way of life few of us can imagine today. The book is similar in format and style to Tom’s previous publication, TWELVE MOONS: A YEAR WITH THE SAUK & MESKWAKI IN 1818-1819, which earned a Superior Achievement Award from the Illinois Association of Museums in 2012.

All proceeds of this book support the mission of the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Area.
ISBN: 978-0-692-78862-2

For information about presentations or to buy the book wholesale call (815)220-1848 x 1838.

Additional information

Weight 1 lbs

1 review for Passage to Chicago: A Journey on the Illinois & Michigan Canal in the Year 1860

  1. Dick Lanyon

    Richly illustrated with original artwork and maps by the author, this soft-cover, 8.5- x 11-inch book makes life along the 96-mile Illinois & Michigan Canal come alive as though the reader was a silent passenger on Captain Henry Dawson’s Prairie Star, hauling barrels of molasses, sacks of grain, bales of wool and stoneware jugs filled with either butter or whiskey from LaSalle to Ottawa. This cargo came up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to the head of navigation and was transferred to the lighter and shallower canal vessels to reach its final destination. After unloading at Ottawa, Dawson takes on a load of corn for transit to Chicago. Henry’s wife Ann, is the onboard cook and keeper of the stern cabin, and son Charlie is a junior deckhand helping first-mate Eric with navigation duties while Henry steers at the tiller. Daughter Maggie is too young to leave with relatives.

    A four-mule-team tows the vessel about ten miles until a change of team and mule-team driver is necessary. Towns along the canal are highlighted with descriptions of local history, industry and commerce. Each of the locks are mentioned, with many explained in detail. The Prairie Star is frequently delayed awaiting transit through locks on the busy canal, and must navigate several aqueducts that cross south-flowing tributaries of the Illinois River. Even though the railroads have diminished passenger travel on the canal, transport of bulk commodities remains a steady business. The canal commissioners have four toll houses along the canal to collect revenue and they also sell water to several mills.

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