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An online and photo-panel exhibit created by the Newberry Library for the cnetennial of the Plan of Chicago

Rerouting the Metropolis

Moving Freight

New railroad loops and docks would ease the movement of freight into and around the metropolis. The Plan of Chicago called for circuits "operated for the benefit of all railroads" and connected to the redesigned ports of the Chicago and Calumet rivers. New industrial development would be encouraged along the outer loops and in an immense warehouse district southwest of downtown.

"Chicago. Diagram of the City and Surrounding Country, Showing Railroad Circuits," Plan of Chicago, plate LXXIII. Chicago History Museum

The Plan of Chicago's proposed freight docks at the mouth of the Calumet River reflected the late 19thcentury emergence of Calumet Harbor as the major industrial port of Chicago. The piers extending out into the lake (below left) never materialized; instead harbor improvements focused on Lake Calumet and the Cal-Sag Channel (opened in 1922). The Channel links the Calumet River to the Sanitary and Ship Canal, which then flows toward the Illinois River and on to the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico.

"Chicago. Sketch Diagram of Docks Suggested at the Mouth of the Calumet River for Bulk Freight Steamers," Plan of Chicago, plate LXXII. Chicago History Museum
Ships in Calumet Harbor, 1973. Chicago History Museum, ICHi-37362