Monday, February 18, 2008

Chicago and Water,It Defines The City


Retreating over 10,000 years ago ice sculpted the land of Chicago during the last glacial period. A continental divide perched at the cities edge flows the watershed either toward
Lake Michigan(One of the five large connecting North American Great Lakes) and ultimately the Atlantic ocean to the east or the Mississippi river west and then on to the gulf coast to the south. A natural waterway central that helped Chicago become the transportation hub that it is today.
Digging canals to connect the larger bodies of water, reversing the flow of the Chicago river to draw sewage away from Lake Michigan and building the locks to control the amount of water leaving Lake Michigan ,even raising the city street level above the marsh like condition of the surrounding land and later with the
Deep Tunnel Works for storm water control,our history revolves around how we direct and utilize the watersways of Chicago.

Portage
Illinois_and_Michigan_Canal

The prairie and savannas of the midwest were lure to farmers looking for land.The waterways gave them a way to move all they produced.Soon the Chicago Board of Trade was commisioned, originally a not for profit group comprised of the business men themselves. Today four hundred million bushels of grain flow from producer to consumer annually.
The Futures markets here in Chicago are for wheat, corn, oats, rye, barley, provisions, and stocks and bonds. The cotton and securities markets have been added recently. The Chicago Board of Trade's biggest money market have been soybeans and soybean oil, corn, wheat, and silver.

The Stock yards and slaughter houses processed all the animals farmers brought to market.
Stockyard History

Then the industrial revolution brought the steel mills and factories.
http://www.chicagosteel.org/

The railroad took over, no longer needing the waterways but following the business and millions of people already in place.
And today O'Hare International airport keeps travelers moving...weather permitting...
the tourist abound.

Places to see...


29_Chicago_beaches

Chicago Board of Trade/The Mercantile Exchange

Some History

Chicago_Mercantile_Exchange


Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Other Prairie spaces to explore

Canal Corridor Driving Tour
Miles of trails ,parks, nature centers.


Explore Wetlands


Calumet Open Space Reserve

The Calumet area wetlands were once one of the largest and most diverse natural wetland complexes in lower North America. Now, approximately 4,800 acres will be managed as the Calumet Open Space Reserve.
The City of Chicago has acquired the 117-acre Van Vlissingen Prairie, two-thirds of the 195-acre Indian Ridge Marsh complex, and is in the process of acquiring 460 acres at Hegewisch and Big Marsh.

READ

A Natural History of the Chicago Region by Joel Greenberg
excerpt...
In A Natural History of the Chicago Region, Joel Greenberg takes readers on a journey that begins in 1673 with Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet—the first Europeans known to have visited the Chicago region—and that we're still on today. This is a fascinating story, told with humor and passion, of forests battling prairies for dominance; of grasslands plowed, wetlands drained, and species driven to extinction in the settlement of the Midwest; and of caring conservationists fighting to preserve and restore the native plants and animals. Intermingling historical anecdotes and episodes straight from the words of early settlers and naturalists with current scientific information, Greenberg places the natural history of the region in a human context, showing how it affects our everyday existence in even the most urbanized landscape of Chicago.



Jodi at Bloomingwriter has a list of all those contributing to the Garden Blogger Geography Project.

8 Comments:

Blogger jodi said...

Wow, Gloria, this is amazing. What a huge amount of work. Your fair city has had the best ratio of respondents for this project, too--a challenge to throw out to the Austin bloggers, maybe? :-) Nice job! I haven't followed all the links yet because I'm on deadline (which is why it took me a few hours to get your link up and get here for a visit. )

18/2/08 10:18 PM  
Blogger guild-rez said...

One more place to visit..
Love your story and detailed links.
Where do I live??
Please take a look,
Gisela
http://guildwood.blogspot.com

21/2/08 6:10 AM  
Blogger Dave Coulter said...

I found your site via Chicago Nature Lady's blog. Nice work. It's good to see another neighbor in cyberspace!

26/2/08 6:47 PM  
Blogger Annie in Austin said...

This is a great compendium of Chicago information, Gloria - those links will come in handy for reference.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

27/2/08 12:59 PM  
Blogger WEED WHACKIN' ADVENTURES said...

Hi Gloria! Just returning the visit as I make the rounds of the Garden Bloggers Geography Project. I have some fun memories of visits to Chicago. I spent a decade in Madison, WI and would make a run for Chicago whenever I got the chance. Enjoyed reading your geography entry!

27/2/08 4:45 PM  
Blogger Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Wow, you've really done your research! Great history lesson. I checked out your prairie link & noticed that it failed to include a few of my favorite prairies - Grigsby Prairie & Flint Creek Savanna in Barrington and Shoe Factory Road Woods Forest Preserve's prairie & Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve (hill praire) in Elgin.

2/3/08 12:47 PM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Jodi, it was fun putting together the information about Chicago.
Some of the public gardens were covered at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago's geography post. http://sweethomeandgardenchicago.blogspot.com/2008/02/sweet-home-chicago.htm

So I tried to cover a few of the nature preserves.
There is a good article about the conservation effort in Chicago at
Chicago Wilderness Magizine.
http://www.chicagowildernessmag.org/issues/winter2008/conservation.html

guild, I did visit your blog and read the geography post. What a great area along another of the Great Lakes.The bluffs are beautiful.

Dave, hi neighbor.


Thanks Annie, have you ever visited Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie at the site of the former U.S. Army Joliet Arsenal.


Weed wacks, if I could I would live in your area for a few years. May yet!


Mr MD, thanks for the additional prairies preserves to add to the growing list.

12/3/08 12:32 PM  
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