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’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.