Individual Author Record
Name: Jim ReddPen Name: None Genre: History Other Born: Sites:
Illinois ConnectionMr. Redd lives in Chicago.
Biographical and Professional Information
Titles At Your Library
The Illinois and Michigan Canal: A Contemporary Perspective in Essays and Photographs
ISBN: 0809316609 Southern Illinois University Press. 1993
Merging narration with exhibit-quality photographs—weaving history, nostalgia, and even a touch of romance around good graphic evidence of what the canal has become today—Jim Redd takes us on a highly personal journey down the Illinois and Michigan Canal as it follows the Des Plaines and Illinois rivers from Chicago to La Salle.
In order to understand the whole of what the canal means now and what it has meant, Redd looks at and photographs the present, an old ruin of a canal out of use for half of a century. But he also sees the beginning, the time before the glaciers inched south—contemplating the two hundred years when the "ice flowing from the north just balanced the melting loss" when "the moving ice was like a continental conveyer belt, dumping tons of entrained rubble and granite from as far away as the Canadian Shield." He envisions the trappers, travelers, and traders who crossed the terrain—this vast mud lake. He brings back the days when Père Jacques Marquette brought the Jesuit message to the frontier.
Redd also tells what the canal did for the region, how it bolstered Chicago from a town of twelve hundred at the time of the 1836 groundbreaking ceremony to a city of seventy-four thousand after six years of operation in 1854. During the peak traffic—from the 1860s through the 1880s—more than five million tons of freight passed through the canal, generating a million dollars in tolls and opening a trade route from the East Coast to the Gulf of Mexico.