Chicago Harbor

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An east-southeast view in Chicago, Illinois overlooking the Jardine Water Purification Plant and Navy Pier within the Chicago Harbor including the north and south breakwaters and the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse Lake Michigan and the Navy Pier.jpg
An east-southeast view in Chicago, Illinois overlooking the Jardine Water Purification Plant and Navy Pier within the Chicago Harbor including the north and south breakwaters and the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse
Monroe harbor. Muelle Monroe, Chicago, Illinois, Estados Unidos, 2012-10-20, DD 09.jpg
Monroe harbor.

Generally, the Chicago Harbor comprises the public rivers, canals, and lakes within the territorial limits of the City of Chicago and all connecting slips, basins, piers, breakwaters, and permanent structures therein for a distance of three miles from the shore between the extended north and south lines of the city. The greater Chicago Harbor includes portions of the Chicago River, the Calumet River, the Ogden Canal, the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, Lake Calumet, and Lake Michigan. [1]

Chicago River Rivers and canals running through the city of Chicago

The Chicago River is a system of rivers and canals with a combined length of 156 miles (251 km) that runs through the city of Chicago, including its center. Though not especially long, the river is notable because it is one of the reasons for Chicago's geographic importance: the related Chicago Portage is a link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basin, and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico.

Calumet River river in the United States of America

The Calumet River is a system of heavily industrialized rivers and canals in the region between the neighborhood of South Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, and the city of Gary, Indiana. Historically, the Little Calumet River and the Grand Calumet River were one, the former flowing west from Indiana into Illinois, then turning back east to its mouth at Lake Michigan at Marquette Park in Gary.

Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal

The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, historically known as the Chicago Drainage Canal, is a 28-mile-long (45 km) canal system that connects the Chicago River to the Des Plaines River. It reverses the direction of the Main Stem and the South Branch of the Chicago River, which now flows out of Lake Michigan rather than into it. The related Calumet-Saganashkee Channel does the same for the Calumet River a short distance to the south, joining the Chicago canal about half way along its route to the Des Plaines. The two provide the only navigation for ships between the Great Lakes Waterway and the Mississippi River system.

In a more narrow sense, the Chicago Harbor is that artificial harbor on Lake Michigan located at the mouth of the Chicago River bounded by outer breakwaters to the north and east, Northerly Island to the south, and the Chicago shoreline to the west. The main entrance to this harbor is marked by the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse. The Jardine Water Purification Plant, Navy Pier, the Chicago Harbor Lock, Coast Guard Station Chicago, the municipal harbors - Dusable Harbor and Monroe Harbor, and the yacht clubs - Chicago Yacht Club and Columbia Yacht Club are all located here. [2]

Harbor Sheltered body of water where ships may shelter

A harbor or harbour is a sheltered body of water where ships, boats, and barges can be docked. The term harbor is often used interchangeably with port, which is a man-made facility built for loading and unloading vessels and dropping off and picking up passengers. Ports usually include one or more harbors. Alexandria Port in Egypt is an example of a port with two harbors.

Northerly Island man-made peninsula along Chicagos lakefront

Northerly Island is a 91-acre (37 ha) man-made peninsula along Chicago's Lake Michigan lakefront. The site of the Adler Planetarium, Northerly Island connects to the mainland through a narrow isthmus along Solidarity Drive. This street is dominated by Neoclassical sculptures of Tadeusz Kościuszko, Karel Havlíček Borovský and Copernicus. With the demolition of Meigs Field Airport, Northerly Island is now a part of the Museum Campus and has been converted into parkland. A semi-temporary concert venue, the Huntington Bank Pavilion, occupies part of the site of the former airport.

Jardine Water Purification Plant

The Jardine Water Purification Plant, formerly the Central District Filtration Plant, is the largest capacity water filtration plant in the world, located at 1000 East Ohio Street, north of Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois. It draws raw water from two of the city's water cribs far offshore in Lake Michigan and supplies 2/3 of water per day to consumers in the Chicagoland Area, the Sawyer Water Purification Plant Supplies the other 1/3. Constructed in the 1960s, it began functioning in 1968. The plant was renamed after James W. Jardine, a 42-year city employee, who served as water commissioner from 1953 until his retirement in 1973. Shortly thereafter the Ohio Street Beach was formed in the bay created by the plant. Landscaping around the plant and in the adjoining Milton Olive Park was designed by Dan Kiley, and a statue, Hymn to Water, by Milton Horn graces the front entrance. The southern portion of the city is served by a separate plant, the Sawyer Water Purification Plant. Together the two plants supply water to about 3 million residents in the city and 118 suburbs.

The Port of Chicago is located within the greater Chicago Harbor in and around Calumet Harbor, the Calumet River, and Lake Calumet.

Port of Chicago

The Port of Chicago consists of several major port facilities within the city of Chicago, Illinois operated by the Illinois International Port District. The central element of the Port District, Calumet Harbor, is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Chicago Park District operates a municipal harbor system within the greater Chicago Harbor in Lake Michigan for recreational boaters. With accommodations for 6000 boats, [3] it is the largest system of its kind in the nation. [4] The system comprises (from north to south) Montrose Harbor, Belmont Harbor, Diversey Harbor, Dusable Harbor, Monroe Harbor, Burnham Harbor, 31st Street Harbor, 59th Street Harbor, and Jackson Park Inner and Outer Harbors. [4]

Chicago Park District

The Chicago Park District is the oldest and one of the largest park districts in the United States. As of 2016, there are over 600 parks included in the Chicago Park District as well as 27 beaches, several boat harbors, two botanic conservatories, a zoo, and 11 museums. The Chicago Park District also has more than over 230 field houses, 78 public pools, and dozens of sports and recreational facilities, with year-round programming. The district is an independent taxing authority as defined by Illinois State Statute and is considered a separate agency of the City of Chicago. The district's general superintendent and CEO, Michael P. Kelly, was appointed by the mayor of Chicago and confirmed by the board of commissioners in 2011. The district's headquarters are located in the Time-Life Building in the Streeterville neighborhood.

See also

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Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal

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Jones Island, Milwaukee human settlement in United States of America

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Port of Indiana

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor is an industrial area, founded in 1965 and located on the Lake Michigan shore of Indiana at the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and Indiana 249. The primary work done in the area is the manufacturing of steel, and the port area is dominated by steel mills. The port is divided between the municipalities of Burns Harbor and Portage.

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Tinley Moraine

The Tinley Moraine is a moraine around the Lake Michigan basin in North America. It was formed during the Wisconsin Glaciation and is younger than the higher and wider terminal moraine called the Valparaiso Moraine, which is located farther from the lake than the Tinley Moraine. Compared to the Valparaiso Moraine, the Tinley Moraine is much narrower and occupies a similar swath, about 6 miles (10 km) closer to Lake Michigan, and passes through the communities of Flossmoor, Western Springs, and Arlington Heights. The moraine probably was named after the village of Tinley Park, a village southwest of Chicago that lies on the moraine.

Indiana Harbor East Breakwater Light lighthouse in Indiana, United States

The Indiana Harbor East Breakwater Light is an active aid to navigation that marks the end of a breakwater on the east side of the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal where it enters Lake Michigan.

Chicago Yacht Club

The Chicago Yacht Club is located in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Yacht Club is best known for organizing the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac each July. It also hosts dozens of other races and regattas throughout the boating season. It has two club houses, one at Monroe Harbor and one at Belmont Harbor.

Chicago Lakefront Trail

The Chicago Lakefront Trail (LFT) is a 18.5-mile-long (29.8 km) partial shared use path for walking jogging and cycling, located along the western shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois. The trail passes through and connects Chicago's four major lakefront parks along with various beaches and recreational amenities. It also serves as a route for bicycle commuters. On busy summer days 70,000 people use the trail.

City West, Indiana

City West was a village in Porter County, Indiana, USA, located on the shore of Lake Michigan approximately 10 miles west of Michigan City, Indiana. It was situated near the mouth of Fort Creek, now known as Dunes Creek, which empties into Lake Michigan near the Indiana Dunes State Park swimming beach. It was located near the former site of Petit Fort.

Indiana City was a notional community in northern Lake County, Indiana, at the mouth of the Grand Calumet River. It was located in present-day Marquette Park in Miller Beach, near the southern tip of Lake Michigan. Indiana City was one of a handful of early contenders to be a port city on southern Lake Michigan, alongside Chicago, City West, and Michigan City.

Chicago Area Waterway System

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Grand Calumet River river in the United States

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T.J. OBrien Lock and Dam

Thomas J. O'Brien Lock & Dam is a lock on the Calumet River on the south side of Chicago. The dam is 326 river miles (525 km) from the Mississippi-Illinois confluence. The up-river side of the dam is at Lake Michigan's level, 577 feet (176 m) above sea level. The lock dimensions are 1,000 by 110 feet.

Manistee Harbor, South Breakwater

The Manistee Harbor, South Breakwater is a navigational structure located at the mouth of the Manistee River, in Manistee, Michigan. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. The breakwater is significant due to its construction, which represents a final stage in the United States Army Corps of Engineers's use of timber crib substructures in pier and breakwater construction.

The Chicago Maritime Museum is a maritime society and museum dedicated to the study and memorialization of Chicago's maritime traditions. The museum's webpage asserts that Lake Michigan and the Chicago River were key factors in Chicago's growth toward status as a world-class city, and pays tribute to Congress for granting lake frontage in 1818 to the infant state of Illinois. The museum opened in June 2016.


  1. Municipal Code of Chicago, Chapter 10-40 Chicago Harbor, Article 1. Harbor Jurisdiction, Section 10-40-010 Definition
  2. "Project: Chicago Harbor Model Study - History". U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Archived from the original on 2 March 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  3. "Slip Information". Chicago Harbors. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  4. 1 2 "Harbors". Chicago Park District. Retrieved 14 June 2016.