Saturday, April 09, 2016

Chicago River

The Chicago River winds through the canyons of downtown Chicago, with the city's spectacular skyscrapers rising practically from the water's edge. We took advantage of the wonderful day to take one of the architecture-inspired boat tours. The most highly acclaimed one - run by the Chicago Architecture Foundation - wasn't quite open for the season, but a similar offering by Shoreline Sightseeing was still a lot of fun.

I took an awful lot of photos of skyscrapers of different vintages, all rising into a bright blue sky. But I think I'll save some of those for a different post.

As interesting and appropriate as the architecture tour was, I would have enjoyed a river tour built more around the early history of the city. Before there was a city, there were spits and marshes at the mouth of the Chicago River. Before it was replumbed, the Chicago River flowed into Lake Michigan, as opposed to flowing west towards the Mississippi. Before there were skyscrapers, there were feedlots and slaughter houses. I read Cronon's history of Chicago a couple of years ago and would have loved to hear more about the city's origins, since I've already forgotten most of what I read.

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