Proposed Historic Signage at I&M Canal Lock no. 1, Lockport, IL  Full Text:   On July 6, 2018, following a flash flood in the region, several local residents discovered a large steel structure near Lock no. 1., which had been carried by the rapid current and rising waters in the canal.  Some speculate that this structure may be the remains of the Deep Cut Observatory, which was constructed following the failed 1871 project to deepen the canal, and reverse the flow from Lake Michigan. This observation center was developed to test for water borne contaminants, in light of the large quantities of sewage from Chicago, as well as the rapid industrial development north of Lockport. The project was largely abandoned in 1901, after the construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal. It was briefly revived in 1911, upon the opening of the Texas Company Refinery along Lockport’s northern boundary, but was permanently closed later that year, when the construction of the Calumet-Sag Channel cut off most of the water power to the town. Some longtime residents recall the remains of this laboratory being washed away by rising flood waters during the catastrophic Des Plaines River flood of April 1947, when water level rose more than 10 feet, and severely damaged Lockport’s downtown core.  Led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, efforts are being made to reconstruct this local landmark. The original façade was among the first built at the nearby Joliet Ironworks, while the remainder of the structure was constructed primarily of local limestone, buried in the hillside between Lock no. 1 and the Adelmann & Marx Tannery Bypass Channel. The revived Deep Cut Laboratory follows the original contours of the landscape, prior to the closure of the bypass channel, and subsequent landscaping.  The Deep Cut Restoration Laboratory will continue its role as a water monitoring station, in light of the I&M Canal’s present vulnerabilities from industrial facilities further upstream, as well as the threat of invasive aquatic species. It will also function as a test site for converting industrial debris into chemicals which may be deployed in response to future industrial spills. Additionally, this facility will serve as a restoration laboratory, rehabilitating artifacts discovered during the ongoing excavation of the Norton Hydraulic Basin site. In the 1890’s, power generated by the water wheel in the tannery bypass channel was redirected to the Deep Cut Observatory, as declining industry in Lockport meant that the tannery operated only intermittently by this point. In honor of this history, the laboratory’s electrolytic cleaning process is powered by a micro-hydro generator which utilizes the canal’s flow, as well as a reconstructed galvanic cell battery, which was initially used as a backup power source for the structure during the 1870’s.
       
     
  The Deep Cut Restoration Laboratory  (Installation View from I&M Canal)  laser etched plexiglas, frosted plexiglas, stainless steel, acrylic tubing, iron artifacts, plants, iron sulfate, ferric chloride, soda ash, copper, zinc, micro-hydro generator, solar panels, LED grow lights, 2018.  (Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
       
     
 (Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
       
     
 (Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
       
     
 Interior View: Detail of electrolytic cleaning tanks, crystallizing dishes, and galvanic cell battery
       
     
 (Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
       
     
 Installation View: Water collection system, solar panels, and transplanted plants from Norton Hydraulic Basin  (Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
       
     
 (Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
       
     
 Detail: Laser etched water sample data sourced from 1982-1987 Texaco Lockport closure documents
       
     
 Installation View (evening): LED grow lights activated after sunset
       
     
 (Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
       
     
5730.lyons.jpg
       
     
 (Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
       
     
IMG_0403.jpg
       
     
 Proposed Historic Signage at I&M Canal Lock no. 1, Lockport, IL  Full Text:   On July 6, 2018, following a flash flood in the region, several local residents discovered a large steel structure near Lock no. 1., which had been carried by the rapid current and rising waters in the canal.  Some speculate that this structure may be the remains of the Deep Cut Observatory, which was constructed following the failed 1871 project to deepen the canal, and reverse the flow from Lake Michigan. This observation center was developed to test for water borne contaminants, in light of the large quantities of sewage from Chicago, as well as the rapid industrial development north of Lockport. The project was largely abandoned in 1901, after the construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal. It was briefly revived in 1911, upon the opening of the Texas Company Refinery along Lockport’s northern boundary, but was permanently closed later that year, when the construction of the Calumet-Sag Channel cut off most of the water power to the town. Some longtime residents recall the remains of this laboratory being washed away by rising flood waters during the catastrophic Des Plaines River flood of April 1947, when water level rose more than 10 feet, and severely damaged Lockport’s downtown core.  Led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, efforts are being made to reconstruct this local landmark. The original façade was among the first built at the nearby Joliet Ironworks, while the remainder of the structure was constructed primarily of local limestone, buried in the hillside between Lock no. 1 and the Adelmann & Marx Tannery Bypass Channel. The revived Deep Cut Laboratory follows the original contours of the landscape, prior to the closure of the bypass channel, and subsequent landscaping.  The Deep Cut Restoration Laboratory will continue its role as a water monitoring station, in light of the I&M Canal’s present vulnerabilities from industrial facilities further upstream, as well as the threat of invasive aquatic species. It will also function as a test site for converting industrial debris into chemicals which may be deployed in response to future industrial spills. Additionally, this facility will serve as a restoration laboratory, rehabilitating artifacts discovered during the ongoing excavation of the Norton Hydraulic Basin site. In the 1890’s, power generated by the water wheel in the tannery bypass channel was redirected to the Deep Cut Observatory, as declining industry in Lockport meant that the tannery operated only intermittently by this point. In honor of this history, the laboratory’s electrolytic cleaning process is powered by a micro-hydro generator which utilizes the canal’s flow, as well as a reconstructed galvanic cell battery, which was initially used as a backup power source for the structure during the 1870’s.
       
     

Proposed Historic Signage at I&M Canal Lock no. 1, Lockport, IL

Full Text:

On July 6, 2018, following a flash flood in the region, several local residents discovered a large steel structure near Lock no. 1., which had been carried by the rapid current and rising waters in the canal.

Some speculate that this structure may be the remains of the Deep Cut Observatory, which was constructed following the failed 1871 project to deepen the canal, and reverse the flow from Lake Michigan. This observation center was developed to test for water borne contaminants, in light of the large quantities of sewage from Chicago, as well as the rapid industrial development north of Lockport. The project was largely abandoned in 1901, after the construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal. It was briefly revived in 1911, upon the opening of the Texas Company Refinery along Lockport’s northern boundary, but was permanently closed later that year, when the construction of the Calumet-Sag Channel cut off most of the water power to the town. Some longtime residents recall the remains of this laboratory being washed away by rising flood waters during the catastrophic Des Plaines River flood of April 1947, when water level rose more than 10 feet, and severely damaged Lockport’s downtown core.

Led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, efforts are being made to reconstruct this local landmark. The original façade was among the first built at the nearby Joliet Ironworks, while the remainder of the structure was constructed primarily of local limestone, buried in the hillside between Lock no. 1 and the Adelmann & Marx Tannery Bypass Channel. The revived Deep Cut Laboratory follows the original contours of the landscape, prior to the closure of the bypass channel, and subsequent landscaping.

The Deep Cut Restoration Laboratory will continue its role as a water monitoring station, in light of the I&M Canal’s present vulnerabilities from industrial facilities further upstream, as well as the threat of invasive aquatic species. It will also function as a test site for converting industrial debris into chemicals which may be deployed in response to future industrial spills. Additionally, this facility will serve as a restoration laboratory, rehabilitating artifacts discovered during the ongoing excavation of the Norton Hydraulic Basin site. In the 1890’s, power generated by the water wheel in the tannery bypass channel was redirected to the Deep Cut Observatory, as declining industry in Lockport meant that the tannery operated only intermittently by this point. In honor of this history, the laboratory’s electrolytic cleaning process is powered by a micro-hydro generator which utilizes the canal’s flow, as well as a reconstructed galvanic cell battery, which was initially used as a backup power source for the structure during the 1870’s.

  The Deep Cut Restoration Laboratory  (Installation View from I&M Canal)  laser etched plexiglas, frosted plexiglas, stainless steel, acrylic tubing, iron artifacts, plants, iron sulfate, ferric chloride, soda ash, copper, zinc, micro-hydro generator, solar panels, LED grow lights, 2018.  (Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
       
     

The Deep Cut Restoration Laboratory (Installation View from I&M Canal)

laser etched plexiglas, frosted plexiglas, stainless steel, acrylic tubing, iron artifacts, plants, iron sulfate, ferric chloride, soda ash, copper, zinc, micro-hydro generator, solar panels, LED grow lights, 2018.

(Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)

 (Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
       
     

(Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)

 (Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
       
     

(Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)

 Interior View: Detail of electrolytic cleaning tanks, crystallizing dishes, and galvanic cell battery
       
     

Interior View: Detail of electrolytic cleaning tanks, crystallizing dishes, and galvanic cell battery

 (Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
       
     

(Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)

 Installation View: Water collection system, solar panels, and transplanted plants from Norton Hydraulic Basin  (Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
       
     

Installation View: Water collection system, solar panels, and transplanted plants from Norton Hydraulic Basin

(Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)

 (Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
       
     

(Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)

 Detail: Laser etched water sample data sourced from 1982-1987 Texaco Lockport closure documents
       
     

Detail: Laser etched water sample data sourced from 1982-1987 Texaco Lockport closure documents

 Installation View (evening): LED grow lights activated after sunset
       
     

Installation View (evening): LED grow lights activated after sunset

 (Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
       
     

(Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)

5730.lyons.jpg
       
     
 (Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
       
     

(Photo: Bob Morris, Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)

IMG_0403.jpg