Illinois and Michigan Canal

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ILLINOIS AND MICHIGAN CANAL. On 4 July 1836 the State of Illinois began construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal to connect Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. But the panic of 1837 soon forced Illinois to abandon work. Under the leadership of Governor Thomas Ford, however, Illinois devised new methods of financing and resumed construction. On 23 April 1848 the first boat passed through the canal.

The Illinois and Michigan Canal was profitable from its opening, and despite the growth of railroads, tolls exceeded its operation expenses until 1879. Traffic dwindled in the twentieth century, but sections of the canal stayed open until 1930. Of all North American artificial waterways, only the Erie Canal outranked it in importance.


Ranney, Edward. Prairie Passage: The Illinois and Michigan Canal Corridor. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998.

Redd, Jim. The Illinois and Michigan Canal: A Contemporary Perspective in Essays and Photographs. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1993.

Paul M.Angle/a. e.

See alsoCanals ; Erie Canal ; Lakes-to-Gulf Deep Waterway .

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Illinois and Michigan Canal

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Illinois and Michigan Canal