Building the Canal

Canal Operation

Passenger Travel on the Canal

Canal Significance

Architecture and the Canal

Agriculture and the Canal

Industry and the Canal


People Before Us

Natural History



The I&M Canal may be the best kept secret in American history.  One of Canal Corridor Association's primary goals is to let that secret out.  Frontier moxie, political intrigue, great feats of engineering--they're all part of the story of the early days of the canal.  But the story doesn't end there as the canal brought unparalleled growth to Chicago and Illinois and played a crucial role in the development of the Midwest.

Building the Canal  Building a 96 mile canal in the 1800s isn't easy.

Canal Operation  Think you have what it takes to captain a canal boat?

Passenger Travel on the Canal  From canal packet boats to the railroad, the I&M Canal changed the way people traveled.

Canal Significance   The impact the canal made on modern life, stretches well beyond Chicago and Illinois.

Architecture and the Canal  A primer on historic architecture in the heritage corridor.

Agriculture and the Canal  The canal changed the shape and scale of agriculture in the 19th century.

Industry and the Canal  Learn about the canal's role in Chicago industrial prowess.

Waterways  The I&M isn't the only canal in this region.  Read more about water navigation through the prairie.

People Before Us  The heritage corridor boasts a rich ethnic history.  Read more about the people that made Illinois.

Natural History  Man isn't the only force at work on the heritage corridor.  Learn how natural forces continue to shape the canal and its environs.

George Kiser

(dates unknown)


George Kiser, an African American, moved to Joliet from Missouri in the early 1900s. A laborer at the Joliet Iron Works, he usually worked 12 hours a day in noisy, hot and dangerous conditions. The mill employed workers from all over the world--migrants from the south, like Kiser, were joined by Poles, Swedes, Germans, Bohemians and others.


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