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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Wyanet in Bureau County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The Hennepin Canal

 
 
The Hennepin Canal Marker: Anatomy of a Canal image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, June 27, 2011
1. The Hennepin Canal Marker: Anatomy of a Canal
Inscription. Hennepin Canal Parkway
Sign #1
Anatomy of a Canal:
Canals like the Hennepin are manmade waterways for boats to travel on. Many canals are built to make shortcuts between two existing bodies of water. The Hennepin Canal was built to carry cargo barges between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. It cut out over 400 miles off the river route from Chicago to Rock Island. The Hennepin Canal links up with the Rock River for eight miles between Green Rock and Milan. Vital Features: A canal is wider at the top than at the bottom. The angle of its banks must be deep enough to give the canal depth, but gentle enough to keep the sides from eroding. Here are other features that make a canal work.

Sign #2
The Hennepin Canal Parkway:
Engineering Marvel.
The Hennepin Canal was an engineering marvel. Many techniques and materials used in the construction industry today got their start right here. But commercially the canal never paid off. First, it got a late start. Although planning began in 1854, the Hennepin didnít open until 1908. By then, railroads were carrying most of the cargo between Chicago and Rock Island. Then, in the 1920s, the Illinois River was enlarged so it could carry bigger cargo barges and compete with the railroads. But these barges were too big to fit in the Hennepin.
The Hennepin Canal Construction Techniques 2 image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, June 27, 2011
2. The Hennepin Canal Construction Techniques 2
In 1951, the Hennepin Canal was closed to all traffic. A Major Milestone: The Hennepin was the first American canal to be guilt using concrete instead of cut stone. It was a revolutionary idea, but soon engineers around the world were copying it. The Panama Canal between the Atlantic and pacific Oceans is patterned after the Hennepin. Construction Methods, 1900: It took 17 years and thousands of men to build the canal. Some of the work was done using horse driven earth scrapers. Other excavation was done by barge machines. In its Prime 1929: In its peak year the canal carried 30,161 tons of cargo. This might seem a lot, but it was only 1/600th of its estimated capacity. The Golden Years: Although it never really enjoyed commercial success, the Hennepin Canal has always been a popular recreational destination. To this day, itís an ideal place to boat, canoe, fish, bike, hike and picnic.

Sign #3:
Hennepin Canal State Park

Sign #4:
This lift bridge, on the Illinois and Mississippi ĎHennepiní, Canal was erected in 1904. It provided farmers access to their land. A wheel Ďwindlassí in the center was turned to bring the large weights down, which caused the chains to lift the bridge, thus allowing ample room for canal boats to pass. The Canal was closed to barge traffic in 1951. This marker presented to the Wyanet Bicentennial com. July 1976
The Hennepin Canal Marker: Engineering a Marvel image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, June 27, 2011
3. The Hennepin Canal Marker: Engineering a Marvel
and dedicated by the Wyanet Sportsmanís Club.
 
Erected 1976 by State of Illinois and Wyanet Bicentennial Com.
 
Location. 41° 21.887′ N, 89° 36.404′ W. Marker is in Wyanet, Illinois, in Bureau County. Marker is on U.S. 6, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. 3 state park markers and 1 commemorative plaque that can be viewed on access road off south side of US 6, west of Wyanet, Illinois. Marker is in this post office area: Wyanet IL 61379, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Wyanet Soldier's Memorial (approx. 1.2 miles away); Thomas History Museum (approx. 1.2 miles away); Owen Lovejoy Home (approx. 8.2 miles away).
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsIndustry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
The Hennepin Canal Marker State Park image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, June 27, 2011
4. The Hennepin Canal Marker State Park
The Hennepin Canal Lift Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, June 27, 2011
5. The Hennepin Canal Lift Bridge Marker
The Hennepin Canal Marker (3 makers) image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, June 27, 2011
6. The Hennepin Canal Marker (3 makers)
The Hennepin Canal Lift Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, June 27, 2011
7. The Hennepin Canal Lift Bridge
The Hennepin Canal Lock image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, June 27, 2011
8. The Hennepin Canal Lock
The Hennepin Canal Route image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, June 27, 2011
9. The Hennepin Canal Route
The Hennepin Canal Construction Techniques image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, June 27, 2011
10. The Hennepin Canal Construction Techniques
The Hennepin Canal Lift Bridge Details image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, June 27, 2011
11. The Hennepin Canal Lift Bridge Details
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 21, 2011, by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 866 times since then and 43 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on July 21, 2011, by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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