American Experience

Reversing the River

Clip: Season 15 | 1m 40s

By the mid-19th century, Chicago was a growing city encountering problems with its water supply and sewage disposal. Ellis Chesbrough was selected to solve Chicago’s public health crisis. Chesbrough’s solution: change the direction of the Chicago River. In 1871, the extraordinary feat of engineering was accomplished—the river now flowed west from Lake Michigan and down to the Illinois River.

Aired: 01/13/03

Rating: NR

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