The Chicago River

An Illustrated History and Guide to the River and Its Waterways, Second Edition

David M. Solzman

The Chicago River

David M. Solzman

302 pages | 158 halftones, 50 maps | 7 x 10 | © 1998, 2006
Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9780226768014 Published July 2006
“The river has seen it all, done it all, carried it all,” writes David Solzman. “Its current whispers of the past even as it rushes into the future. Those who know the river and its connected streams know Chicago in an elemental way. In a strong sense, the river is Chicago. Follow the river and travel into the soul of the city.”

The river is indeed the soul of the city—it runs through the heart of downtown, and it is a vehicle for both pleasure and the industry that keeps Chicago humming. With The Chicago River, Solzman has succeeded in writing an encyclopedic work—at once guidebook and history—that explores the river’s physical character and natural history. Examining the river’s past, contemplating its present, and forecasting its future, Solzman draws on his unparalleled knowledge to point out places of scientific and historic interest—involving everything from infamous murder cases to invasive zebra mussels. The book’s 200 photographs and maps perfectly complement Solzman’s vivid prose, leading readers on a visual journey as sinuous as the river it celebrates—a journey interspersed with plenty of river lore, facts, and literary quotations. 

Solzman, a veteran Chicago River tour guide, has also compiled a diverse collection of easy and enjoyable tours for anyone who wants to experience the river by foot, boat, canoe, or car. And he provides an appendix that lists river-related organizations, museums, tours, and riverfront restaurants and clubs. 

With practical tips, evocative language, and an astonishing array of anecdotes, TheChicago River is the most comprehensive guide to the river and its waterways, the perfect companion for everyone from the active river enthusiast to the armchair traveler.
Acknowledgements ix
Introduction xiii

Section I.Geography of Chicago’s Waterways 1

Chicago River and Waterways Timeline 2
1. Waters on the Land 5
2. The Physical Geography of the Chicago Region 9
3. Changing Uses, Changing Waterways 25

Section II.Guide to Chicago’s Waterways 55

4. Trips on and around Chicago’s Waterways 57
5. The Great Circle Tour 115

Conclusion  259

Appendix A: Organizations of the Chicago Region 261
Appendix B: Tours and Recreation 264
Appendix C: Canoeing Organizations 267

References 269
Postscript to the 2006 Edition 275
Index 279
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