Chicago lake tunnel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Chicago Lake Tunnel was the first of several tunnels built from the city of Chicago's shore on Lake Michigan two miles out into the lake to access the fresh unpolluted fresh water far from the city's sewage.[1]

In the early decades of its existence, Chicago suffered numerous widespread outbreaks of waterborne diseases. The Chicago Board of Health was organized in 1835 in response to the threat of a cholera epidemic, and later outbreaks of cholera in 1852 and 1854 killed thousands.[2]

In 1863, Ellis S. Chesbrough (1813–1886), the engineer credited with the design of the Chicago sewer system, planned a tunnel five feet wide and lined with brick that would extend through the clay bed of Lake Michigan to a distance of 10,567 feet. Work started in 1864 and the tunnel was opened in 1867.[3]

During the construction, crews began from the intake location and the shore, tunneling in two shifts a day. Clay and earth were drawn away by mule-drawn railcars. Masons lined the five-foot-diameter tunnel with two layers of brick. The lake and shore crews met in November 1866, less than seven inches out of alignment. A second tunnel was added in 1874.[4]


  1. ^ "The Lake Tunnel in Chicago". Linda Hall Library. Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology. 28 October 2002. Archived from the original on 29 May 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Epidemics". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Encyclopedia of Chicago. 2004. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  3. ^ Chicago Department of Public Works. Chicago Public Works: A History. 1973.
  4. ^ Chicago Department of Public Works. Chicago Public Works: A History. 1973.
Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Chicago lake tunnel"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA