The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
U.S. Route 34
U. S. Route 34 is an east–west United States highway that runs for 1,122 miles from north-central Colorado to the western suburbs of Chicago. Through Rocky Mountain National Park it is known as the Trail Ridge Road where it reaches elevation 12,183 feet, making it the highest paved through highway in the United States; the highway's western terminus is Granby, Colorado at US 40. Its eastern terminus is in Berwyn, Illinois at Illinois Route 43 and Historic US 66. U. S. Route 34 becomes a toll road for a short distance in Colorado, where it passes through Rocky Mountain National Park. In the state of Colorado, U. S. Route 34 runs north from Granby through Rocky Mountain National Park, it passes through Estes Park and Greeley before entering Nebraska east of Wray. Within Rocky Mountain National Park US 34 is known as Trail Ridge Road. Due to its high elevation through the park and over the Continental Divide, Route 34 closes in winter from the Colorado River Trailhead on the west to Many Parks Curve on the east Closure runs from mid-October to Memorial Day weekend in May, can occur at any time in summer due to high alpine snow storms.
Route 34 transverses Fall River Milner Pass in the Front Range of Colorado. In the state of Nebraska, U. S. Route 34 is a major east–west arterial surface road along the southern portion of Nebraska, it overlaps other routes for the majority of its routing. U. S. 34 passes through Hastings, Grand Island and Lincoln before entering Iowa east of Plattsmouth over the Plattsmouth Bridge. U. S. Route 34 from between Hastings and Grand Island is known as the Tom Osborne Expressway, named for the former Hastings resident, Nebraska Cornhuskers football coach, Congressman. In Lincoln, U. S. 34 overlaps with Interstate 180 from its junction with Interstate 80 into downtown where it becomes North 9th/North 10th Streets east as "O" Street. The segment from the Lancaster County/Cass County border to Nebraska Highway 1 south of Elmwood is the Bess Streeter Aldrich Memorial Highway, after the former author and Elmwood resident. In the state of Iowa, U. S. Route 34 is a major east–west arterial surface road across southern Iowa.
It enters Iowa west of Glenwood and passes through Glenwood, Red Oak and Creston before intersecting Interstate 35 at Osceola. East of Osceola, it continues through Chariton and Georgetown onto Albia before meeting U. S. Route 63 at a traffic circle in Ottumwa. East of Ottumwa to Burlington, the highway overlaps Iowa Highway 163; this segment of highway is an expressway with some freeway segments. As of November 12, 2008, it bypasses Fairfield and bypasses Mt. Pleasant, with a portion of this concurrent with U. S. Route 218, the Iowa route for the Avenue of the Saints, it continues southeast towards Burlington bypassing New London and Danville and Middletown. The freeway segment through Burlington was completed in the 1970s, it crosses the Mississippi River on the Great River Bridge into Illinois, completed in the early 1990s. In 2015, a 15-mile segment of U. S. Route 34 in Montgomery and Adams counties won the Sheldon G. Hayes Award for the highest quality asphalt pavement in the nation. Much of this route was known as the Bluegrass Highway and parallels tracks of what was the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad and is now the BNSF.
Amtrak's California Zephyr passenger rail service parallels this route. U. S. 34 in the state of Iowa is designated the Red Bull Highway in honor of the 34th Infantry Division. In the state of Illinois, U. S. Route 34 enters at the Mississippi River across from Iowa, it passes through or around the cities of Monmouth, Princeton, Oswego, Naperville, Downers Grove, Clarendon Hills, Western Springs, La Grange, Brookfield and Riverside and continues in a southwest-northeast direction to its eastern terminus at Illinois Route 43 and Historic US 66 in Berwyn. Through much of the Chicago area, the highway is known as "Ogden Avenue", after William Butler Ogden, Chicago's first mayor; the entire highway in Illinois is named the Walter Payton Memorial Highway after Pro Football Hall of Famer Walter Payton, who wore #34 for the Chicago Bears. The highway is 211.37 miles long within the state. Nebraska and Iowa are planning a new U. S. Route 34 bridge which would reroute U. S. 34 north of the Platte River concurrent with U.
S. 75 turn east to cross the Missouri River south of Bellevue, Nebraska. It would align with the current U. S. 34 alignment near Iowa. Colorado US 40 in Granby US 36 in Deer Ridge Junction US 36 in Estes Park US 287 in Loveland I‑25 / US 87 in Loveland US 85 in Evans; the highways travel concurretly to Greeley. I‑76 / US 6 northeast of Wiggins; the highways travel concurrently to west-southwest of Log Lane Village. US 385 in Wray Nebraska US 6 west of Culbertson; the highways travel concurrently to Hastings. US 83 in McCook; the highways travel concurrently through the city. US 283 in Arapahoe US 136 north-northwest of Edison US 183 in Holdrege US 281 in Hastings; the highways travel concurrently to Grand Island. I‑80 south of Grand Island US 81 in York; the highways travel concurrently to north of York. I‑80 / I‑180 / US 77 in Lincoln. I-180/US 34 travels concurrently through the city. US 75 east of Union; the highways travel concurrently to north-northwest of La Platte. Iowa I‑29 / US 275 north-northwest of Pacific Junction.
US 34/US 275 travels concurrently to east-southeast of Glenwood. US 59 north of Emerson US 71 north of Villisca US 169 in Afton
Illinois is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes region of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product, the sixth largest population, the 25th largest land area of all U. S. states. Illinois is noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, natural resources such as coal and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population; the Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports.
Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics. The capital of Illinois is Springfield, located in the central part of the state. Although today's Illinois' largest population center is in its northeast, the state's European population grew first in the west as the French settled the vast Mississippi of the Illinois Country of New France. Following the American Revolutionary War, American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1780s via the Ohio River, the population grew from south to north. In 1818, Illinois achieved statehood. Following increased commercial activity in the Great Lakes after the construction of the Erie Canal, Chicago was founded in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River at one of the few natural harbors on the southern section of Lake Michigan. John Deere's invention of the self-scouring steel plow turned Illinois's rich prairie into some of the world's most productive and valuable farmland, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden.
The Illinois and Michigan Canal made transportation between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River valley faster and cheaper, new railroads carried immigrants to new homes in the country's west and shipped commodity crops to the nation's east. The state became a transportation hub for the nation. By 1900, the growth of industrial jobs in the northern cities and coal mining in the central and southern areas attracted immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. Illinois was an important manufacturing center during both world wars; the Great Migration from the South established a large community of African Americans in the state, including Chicago, who founded the city's famous jazz and blues cultures. Chicago, the center of the Chicago Metropolitan Area, is now recognized as a global alpha-level city. Three U. S. presidents have been elected while living in Illinois: Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Barack Obama. Additionally, Ronald Reagan, whose political career was based in California, was born and raised in the state.
Today, Illinois honors Lincoln with its official state slogan Land of Lincoln, displayed on its license plates since 1954. The state is the site of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield and the future home of the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. "Illinois" is the modern spelling for the early French Catholic missionaries and explorers' name for the Illinois Native Americans, a name, spelled in many different ways in the early records. American scholars thought the name "Illinois" meant "man" or "men" in the Miami-Illinois language, with the original iliniwek transformed via French into Illinois; this etymology is not supported by the Illinois language, as the word for "man" is ireniwa, plural of "man" is ireniwaki. The name Illiniwek has been said to mean "tribe of superior men", a false etymology; the name "Illinois" derives from the Miami-Illinois verb irenwe·wa - "he speaks the regular way". This was taken into the Ojibwe language in the Ottawa dialect, modified into ilinwe·.
The French borrowed these forms, changing the /we/ ending to spell it as -ois, a transliteration for its pronunciation in French of that time. The current spelling form, began to appear in the early 1670s, when French colonists had settled in the western area; the Illinois's name for themselves, as attested in all three of the French missionary-period dictionaries of Illinois, was Inoka, of unknown meaning and unrelated to the other terms. American Indians of successive cultures lived along the waterways of the Illinois area for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans; the Koster Site demonstrates 7,000 years of continuous habitation. Cahokia, the largest regional chiefdom and urban center of the Pre-Columbian Mississippian culture, was located near present-day Collinsville, Illinois, they built an urban complex of more than 100 platform and burial mounds, a 50-acre plaza larger than 35 football fields, a woodhenge of sacred cedar, all in a planned design expressing the culture's cosmology.
Monks Mound, the center of the site, is the largest Pre-Columbian structure north of the Valley of Mexico. It is 100 feet high, 951 feet long, 836 feet wide, covers 13.8 acres. It contains about 814,000 cubic yards of earth, it was topped by a structure thought to have measured about 105 feet in length and 48 feet in width, covered an area 5,000 square feet, been as much as 50 feet high, making its peak 150 feet above the level of the pl
Aurora, a suburb of Chicago, is a city in DuPage, Kane and Will counties in the U. S. state of Illinois. Located in DuPage and Kane counties, it is an outer suburb of Chicago and the second most populous city in the state, the 114th most populous city in the country; the population was 197,899 at the 2010 census, was estimated to have increased to 200,965 by 2017. Once a mid-sized manufacturing city, Aurora has grown since the 1960s. Founded within Kane County, Aurora's city limits and population have expanded into DuPage and Kendall counties. Between 2000 and 2003, the U. S. Census Bureau ranked Aurora as the 34th fastest-growing city in the United States. From 2000 to 2009, the U. S. Census Bureau ranked the city as the 46th fastest growing city with a population of over 100,000. In 1908, Aurora adopted the nickname "City of Lights", because in 1881 it was one of the first cities in the United States to implement an all-electric street lighting system. Aurora's historic downtown is located on the Fox River, centered on Stolp Island.
The city is divided into three regions, the West Side, on the west side of the Fox River, the East Side, between the eastern bank of the Fox River and the Kane/DuPage County line, the Far East Side/Fox Valley, from the County Line to the city's eastern border with Naperville. The Aurora area has some significant architecture, including structures by Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Bruce Goff and George Grant Elmslie. Aurora is home to a large collection of Sears Catalog Homes and Lustron all-steel homes; the Hollywood Casino Aurora, a dockside gaming facility with 53,000 square feet and 1,200 gaming positions, is located along the river in downtown Aurora. Before European settlers arrived, there was a Native American village in what is today downtown Aurora, on the banks of the Fox River. In 1834, following the Black Hawk War, the McCarty brothers arrived, they owned land on both sides of the river, but sold their lands to the Lake brothers on the west side. The Lake brothers opened a mill on the opposite side of the river.
The McCartys operated their mill on the east side. A post office was established in 1837 creating Aurora. Aurora was two villages: East Aurora, incorporated in 1845, on the east side of the river, West Aurora, formally organized on the west side of the river in 1854. In 1857, the two towns joined incorporated as the city of Aurora; as representatives could not agree which side of the river should house the public buildings, most public buildings were built on or around Stolp Island in the middle of the river. As the city grew, it attracted numerous jobs. In 1856, the Chicago and Quincy Railroad located its roundhouse and locomotive shop in Aurora, becoming the town's largest employer, a rank it held until the 1960s. Railroad restructuring in the railroad industry resulted in a loss of jobs as the number of railroads reduced and they dropped lines for passenger traffic. Aurora at one time had scheduled passenger trains to Chicago; the heavy industries on the East side provided employment for generations of European immigrants, who came from Ireland, Great Britain, Luxembourg, Germany and Italy.
Aurora became the economic center of the Fox Valley region. The combination of these three factors—a industrialized town, a sizable river that divided it, the Burlington railroad's shops—accounted for much of the dynamics of Aurora's political and social history; the city supported abolitionism before the American Civil War. Mexican migrants began arriving after the Mexican Revolution of 1910; the town was progressive in its attitude toward education, religion and women. The first free public school district in Illinois was established in 1851 here and the city established a high school for girls in 1855; the city developed as a manufacturing powerhouse and continued until the early 1970s, when the railroad shops closed. Soon many other factories and industrial areas went out of business. By 1980, there were few industrial areas operating in the city, unemployment soared to 16%. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, development began of the Far East side along the Eola Road and Route 59 areas.
While this was financially beneficial to the city, it drew off retail businesses and manufacturing from downtown and the industrial sectors of the near East and West Sides weakening them. In the mid-1980s crime rates soared and street gangs started to form. During this time Aurora became a much more culturally diverse city; the Latino population began to grow in the city in the 1980s. In the late 1980s, several business and industrial parks were established on the city's outskirts. In 1993, the Hollywood Casino was built downtown, which helped bring the first redevelopment to the downtown area in nearly twenty years. In the late 1990s, more development began in the rural towns outside Aurora. Subdivisions sprouted up around the city, Aurora's population soared. Today, Aurora is a culturally diverse city of around 200,000 residents. Historic areas downtown are being redeveloped, new developments are being built all over the city. Aurora is at 41°45′50″N 88°17′24″W. According to the 2010 census, Aurora has an area of 45.799 square miles, of which 44.94 square miles is land and 0.859 square miles is water.
While the city has traditionally been regarded as being in Kane County, Aurora includes parts of DuPage and Will counties. Aurora is one of only three cities in Illinois. (The others are Barrington Hills and Centr
Agriculture is the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities; the history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After gathering wild grains beginning at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers began to plant them around 11,500 years ago. Pigs and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture in the twentieth century came to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people still depended on subsistence agriculture into the twenty-first. Modern agronomy, plant breeding, agrochemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, technological developments have increased yields, while causing widespread ecological and environmental damage. Selective breeding and modern practices in animal husbandry have increased the output of meat, but have raised concerns about animal welfare and environmental damage.
Environmental issues include contributions to global warming, depletion of aquifers, antibiotic resistance, growth hormones in industrial meat production. Genetically modified organisms are used, although some are banned in certain countries; the major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers and raw materials. Food classes include cereals, fruits, meat, milk and eggs. Over one-third of the world's workers are employed in agriculture, second only to the service sector, although the number of agricultural workers in developed countries has decreased over the centuries; the word agriculture is a late Middle English adaptation of Latin agricultūra, from ager, "field", which in its turn came from Greek αγρός, cultūra, "cultivation" or "growing". While agriculture refers to human activities, certain species of ant and ambrosia beetle cultivate crops. Agriculture is defined with varying scopes, in its broadest sense using natural resources to "produce commodities which maintain life, including food, forest products, horticultural crops, their related services".
Thus defined, it includes arable farming, animal husbandry and forestry, but horticulture and forestry are in practice excluded. The development of agriculture enabled the human population to grow many times larger than could be sustained by hunting and gathering. Agriculture began independently in different parts of the globe, included a diverse range of taxa, in at least 11 separate centres of origin. Wild grains were eaten from at least 105,000 years ago. From around 11,500 years ago, the eight Neolithic founder crops and einkorn wheat, hulled barley, lentils, bitter vetch, chick peas and flax were cultivated in the Levant. Rice was domesticated in China between 11,500 and 6,200 BC with the earliest known cultivation from 5,700 BC, followed by mung and azuki beans. Sheep were domesticated in Mesopotamia between 11,000 years ago. Cattle were domesticated from the wild aurochs in the areas of modern Turkey and Pakistan some 10,500 years ago. Pig production emerged in Eurasia, including Europe, East Asia and Southwest Asia, where wild boar were first domesticated about 10,500 years ago.
In the Andes of South America, the potato was domesticated between 10,000 and 7,000 years ago, along with beans, llamas and guinea pigs. Sugarcane and some root vegetables were domesticated in New Guinea around 9,000 years ago. Sorghum was domesticated in the Sahel region of Africa by 7,000 years ago. Cotton was domesticated in Peru by 5,600 years ago, was independently domesticated in Eurasia. In Mesoamerica, wild teosinte was bred into maize by 6,000 years ago. Scholars have offered multiple hypotheses to explain the historical origins of agriculture. Studies of the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies indicate an initial period of intensification and increasing sedentism. Wild stands, harvested started to be planted, came to be domesticated. In Eurasia, the Sumerians started to live in villages from about 8,000 BC, relying on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and a canal system for irrigation. Ploughs appear in pictographs around 3,000 BC. Farmers grew wheat, vegetables such as lentils and onions, fruits including dates and figs.
Ancient Egyptian agriculture relied on its seasonal flooding. Farming started in the predynastic period at the end of the Paleolithic, after 10,000 BC. Staple food crops were grains such as wheat and barley, alongside industrial crops such as flax and papyrus. In India, wheat and jujube were domesticated by 9,000 BC, soon followed by sheep and goats. Cattle and goats were domesticated in Mehrgarh culture by 8,000–6,000 BC. Cotton was cultivated by the 5th-4th millennium BC. Archeological evidence indicates an animal-drawn plough from 2,500 BC in the Indus Valley Civilisation. In China, from the 5th century BC there was a nationwide granary system and widespread silk farming. Water-powered grain mills were in use followed by irrigation. By the late 2nd century, heavy ploughs had been developed with iron mouldboards; these spread westwards across Eurasia. Asian rice was domesticated 8,200–13,500 years ago – depending on the molecular clock estimate, used – on the Pearl River in southern China with a single genetic origin from the wild rice Oryza rufipogon
Illinois and Michigan Canal
The Illinois and Michigan Canal connected the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. In Illinois, it ran 96 miles from the Chicago River in Bridgeport, Chicago to the Illinois River at LaSalle-Peru; the canal crossed the Chicago Portage, helped establish Chicago as the transportation hub of the United States, before the railroad era. It was opened in 1848, its function was replaced by the wider and shorter Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in 1900, it ceased transportation operations with the completion of the Illinois Waterway in 1933. Illinois and Michigan Canal Locks and Towpath, a collection of eight engineering structures and segments of the canal between Lockport and LaSalle-Peru, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964. Portions of the canal have been filled in. Much of the former canal, near the Heritage Corridor transit line, has been preserved as part of the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor. Canals, in the 1800s, were important modes of transportation.
The Illinois and Michigan Canal connected the Mississippi Basin to the Great Lakes Basin. The canal influenced Illinois's north border; the Erie Canal and the Illinois and Michigan Canal cemented cultural and trade ties to the Northeast rather than the South. Before the canal, farming in the region was limited to subsistence farming; the canal made agriculture in northern Illinois profitable, opening up connections to eastern markets. With the expansion of agriculture, the canal created the city of Chicago. Without the initial stimulus of the canal, Chicago would not have attracted the populations and the industry that it did; the first known Europeans to travel the area, Father Marquette and Louis Joliet went through the Chicago Portage on their return trip. Joliet remarked that with a canal they could remove the need to portage and the French could create an empire spanning the continent; the first quantitative survey of the portage was performed in 1816 by Stephen H. Long, it was on the basis of these measurements.
With several slave states admitted to the Union, Nathaniel Pope and Ninian Edwards saw the opportunity to make Illinois a state. They proposed moving the border northward from the southern tip of Lake Michigan to allow the canal to be within a single state, they believed that the canal would align Illinois with the free states and so Congress granted them statehood though Illinois did not meet the population requirements. In 1824, Samuel D. Lockwood, one of the first commissioners of the canal, was given the authorization to hire contractors to survey a route for the canal to follow. Construction on the canal began in 1836, although it was stopped for several years due to an Illinois state financial crisis related to the Panic of 1837; the Canal Commission had a grant of 284,000 acres of federal land which it sold at $1.25 per acre to finance the construction. Still, money had to be borrowed from eastern U. S. and British investors to finish the canal. Most of the canal work was done by Irish immigrants who worked on the Erie Canal.
The work was considered dangerous and many workers died, although no official records exist to indicate how many. The Irish immigrants who toiled to build the canal were derided as a sub-class and were treated poorly by other citizens of the city; the canal was finished in 1848 at a total cost of $6,170,226. Chicago Mayor James Hutchinson Woodworth presided over the opening ceremony. Pumps were used to draw water to fill the canal near Chicago, soon supplemented by water from the Calumet Feeder Canal; the feeder was originated in Blue Island, Il. The DuPage River provided water farther south. In 1871 the canal was deepened to improve sewage disposal; the canal was 60 feet wide and 6 feet deep, with towpaths constructed along each edge to permit mules to be harnessed to tow barges along the canal. Towns were planned out along the path of the canal spaced at intervals corresponding to the length that the mules could haul the barges, it had seventeen locks and four aqueducts to cover the 140-foot height difference between Lake Michigan and the Illinois River.
From 1848 to 1852 the canal was a popular passenger route, but passenger service ended in 1853 with the opening of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad that ran parallel to the canal. The canal had its peak shipping year in 1882 and remained in use until 1933. Experiencing a remarkable recovery from the devastating Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Chicago rebuilt along the shores of the Chicago River; the river was important to the development of the city since all wastes from houses, the stockyards, other industries could be dumped into the river and carried out into Lake Michigan. The lake, was the source of drinking water. During a tremendous storm in 1885, the rainfall washed refuse from the river from the polluted Bubbly Creek, far out into the lake. Although no epidemics occurred, the Chicago Sanitary District was created by the Illinois legislature in 1889 in response to this close call; this new agency devised a plan to construct channels and canals to reverse the flow of the rivers away from Lake Michigan and divert the contaminated water downstream where it could be diluted as it flowed into the Des Plaines River and the Mississippi.
In 1892, the direction of part of the Chicago River was reversed by the Army Corps of Engineers with the result that the river and much of Chicago's sewage flowed into the canal instead