Southeast Chicago Historical Society

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Calumet River Railroad Bridges

The history of the Southeast Side has always been affected by transportation. When South Chicago began in 1836 it was the era of canal building. The construction of the Illinois Michigan Canal and the Depression of 1837 temporarily postponed area development. The Southeast Side lay dormant until the railroads arrived in the area. Railroads arrived in the area in 1848 and as more and more railroads laid their tracks through the area they created the foundation for a post Civil war boom that would draw industry and people to the region. The improvement of the Calumet River was the key to the industrial development of the Southeast Side and this was the drawing card that brought large numbers of residents, mostly immigrants, to the area seeking the jobs in local factories and especially in the steel mills of the area.



2020 © Industrial Heritage Archives
of Chicago's Calumet Region