Chicago Great Lake Tunnel


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, May 7, 1864

This site features our online archive of Harper's Weekly newspapers. These newspapers have impressive illustrations of the key people, events, and battles of the War. This archive will enable you to study the war in a way not possible before. Browse these papers and watch the war unfold before your eyes.

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Union Scout

Union Scout

Equal Pay for Colored Troops

Pleasant Hill

Battle of Pleasant Hill

Chicago Lake Tunnel

Runaway Slave

Runaway Slave

General Gregg

Cane River

Cane River


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Battle of Pleasant Hill

Battle of Pleasant Hill

War Bonds





MAY 7, 1864.]





ONE of the greatest works of the kind ever under taken has just been commenced in the city of Chicago, under the auspices of the authorities, by Messrs. DULL, & GOWAN, contractors: namely, the construction of a Tunnel under Lake Michigan, two miles in length, by which to supply the city with pure and wholesome water. Our correspondent gives us the following account of the enterprise :

" Chicago is situated on a low and nearly level prairie, being but a few feet above the level of the Lake, so that even the earliest settlers found wells to be impracticable, from the fact that the surface water could not be avoided, while the river is nothing but a sluggish canal, the current of which sways up or down stream, as the

wind outside the harbor happens to send the waters of the Lake inshore or out. A great deal of the sewerage of the city is also discharged into the river, together with all the refuse of the slaughter 1 houses and distilleries, so that it has become a vast and serious nuisance.

" The water with which the people are at present supplied is taken from an artificial basin close in-

shore, about three-fourths of a mile north of the mouth of the river, and by means of immense pumps, which are worked by two engines of two and five hundred horse-power.

"When the wind prevails from the south or southwest the current of the river setting outward is carried up the shore and is more or less deposit-

ed in the basin, causing the water to partake largely of the disagreeable flavor arising from a combination of ingredients neither agreeable to the taste nor smell, and at times rendering it altogether unfit for use.   

"By the construction of this Tunnel it is proposed to take the water from a distance of two miles from the shore of the Lake, thereby insur-.



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