New Book on the Chicago River’s Reversal

The reversal of the Chicago River — one of the great engineering projects of the late 19th century — impacted both the watersheds of the Chicago Region as well as the economy of the city and its suburbs. While that transformation and its consequences have been much discussed, a new photo book significantly adds to that documentation, as discussed by a recent article in the Chicago Sun-Times:

Beginning in 1894, photographers set out to document the mammoth project. Some of those 22,000 images are now featured in the recently released book by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams, “The Lost Panoramas; When Chicago Changed its River and the Land Beyond.” Few of the images have ever been seen before, the authors say. The negatives were recently discovered by accident in a basement of the James C. Kirie Water Reclamation Plant in Des Plaines.

“Nearly every photo is panoramic in nature — wide-angle, unobstructed views of a world that no longer exists,” the authors write.

The book, published by CityFiles Press, retails for $45. Cahan is a former Chicago Sun-Times picture editor.

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