IVCC History instructor publishes another book


, IV Leader Staff

Connecting Links, the 12th book by IVCC history instructor Ron Bluemer, is now available. This is a fascinating account of the construction and operation of the Illinois & Michigan and Hennepin Canals and the Illinois Waterway system of locks and dams.

The author traces the construction projects as they moved westward from Chicago beginning in the 1840’s and continuing with the replacement of the canals with the Depression-era locks on the Illinois River to link the “Windy City” with the Mississippi River. These maritime links are illustrated with over 300 historic and modern photographs and diagrams of the I-M Canal, the Hennepin Canal, and the locks and dams of the Illinois Waterway.

Anecdotal accounts of the construction difficulties as well as the everyday operations of these waterways take the reader on a historic journey beginning in the 1840’s and concluding with the work of the Army Corps of Engineers on-going operations aimed at restoring service after the devastating flood of 2013.

Stories include canal boat connections with steamboats and showboats; innovations in lock construction at the Hennepin Canal; Lincoln’s contribution to the I&M Canal; commerce on the Wilmington and Hennepin feeder canals, construction and opening of the Hennepin Canal and the feeder canal from Rock Falls,  commercial and military use of the waterways; New Deal jobs created on the I&M Canal and the Illinois River Project during the Depression; dedication of the Illinois Waterway; restoring commerce during floods on the Illinois River; and the launching and operation of the Volunteer, the only operating canal boat at LaSalle, IL.

Books can be ordered ($23) from Grand Village Press
134 Cleveland – Granville, IL 61326
(815) 339-1082
[email protected]