Chicago Sun-Times
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Chicago waterways: Diverted Des Plaines question

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dansmis.jpg Dan Sims had a question or rumination

on the diverted flow of the Des Plaines River.

I meant to get this up yesterday, but there was so much going on, I didn't until now.

Here's his question:

Something that had me thinking for the past couple years...

Does anyone know about the diverted flow of the Des Plaines River?!

I have done a lot of research over the past few seasons and after a recent outing with fishing buddy "Dan Cahill", what I thought was correct seems to have it's flaws...

Fishing a stretch between Stony Ford and Lemont; Dan makes a comment along the lines of... "You see the natural bank?" Knowing what he is getting at, I respond... Yes I do.

We then start talking about the "Diverted" flow of the Des Plaines River. I always thought they diverted it's flow near Stony Ford and headed west. Which I still believe is the case, but after seeing, "from a boat" natural shore lines vs. straight cut limestone shores I began to wonder...

Does anyone have any information on this subject?! I would be most delighted to converse further.

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Phil Vierling's "Chicago Portage Ledger"
is available at
See the CPL link at top. The transition from river to diversion channel is detailed. Any pre- diversion maps I've seen show the original river was located between the far bank of the Sanitary and ship Canal and/or the strip of land between the two waterways. There is an original remnant where Rte 83 crosses the DPR next to the Cz8xsy7entennial bike trail.

Mike, thanks much. I knew there were reader/viewer who knew that stuff. BTW, that is an interesting stop online too


Thanks you so much for the link. It has a WEALTH of information that is 100% new to me!

For those interested, Check this out as well.

It is all starting to make sense. :)

I have kayaked the DPR about 40 times so far this year. The most natural looking of the channelized section is the stretch between Willow Springs and the boat landing just upstream of Rte 83. Zigs, zags, islands and for the most part a comfortable buffer zone from civilization. The 1860's (?) RR tracks just north of the river may have influenced the exact routing and luckily gave a ditch a bit of character. (About a month ago I saw an osprey catch his lunch in that stretch.)

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on November 3, 2011 5:44 AM.

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