National Geographic : 1919 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE nize their rights to water for sanitary purposes and to the water front for a playground. NO "KEEP OFF TIIE GRASS" IN CHICAGO The city annually spends five million dollars for park purposes; more per capita, perhaps, than any other city of the first order in existence. There is not a "keep off the grass" in the entire park system; and all recreational facilities are free except the boats in the lagoons. At the two golf courses in Jackson Park a third of a million balls were teed off in 1916. Twice as many people play on the long course in Jackson Park as play on the long course at the historic links at St. Andrew. No charge is made for playing, and there are locker accom modations for three thousand, while some sixty an hour can be started in play. Frequently players have remained up all night in order to get a chance to tee off next day. There is a "swimming hole" within walking distance of every boy in Chi cago; and even with the fine municipal bathing beaches of the lake front not far away, these mid-city park lagoons are always in use, providing joy for the hearts of the kiddies who visit them. SHIIImTING WATERS FROM FUNDY TO MEXIcO Long ago Chicago discovered that if it were not to develop into a hotbed of typhoid fever and other diseases of the intestinal tract it would have to devise some way of keeping the water of the lake front free from pollution. A mount ing typhoid rate, making the city more nearly a pest-hole than a proper habita tion for man, demonstrated that it could not continue to mix sewage with drink ing water by draining the sewers into the lake. So, heroic measures were taken to end the pollution. The Chicago River was forced to give up an age-long right to contribute its water to the St. Lawrence, and was made to flow across the divide separating the Great Lakes from the Mis sissippi River. Thus waters that nor mally ran into the Bay of Fundy were dispatched into the Gulf of Mexico and made to carry the burden of Chicago's sewage as they went. This was accomplished by the construc tion of a drainage canal 36 miles long, from the south branch of the Chicago River to the Illinois River at Joliet. This waterway, 24 feet deep, and 64 feet wide in rock and 202 in earth, has a fall of 40 feet. It serves the triple purpose of drainage, navigation, and power develop ment. Its construction was begun in the World's Fair year and cost nearly sev enty million dollars. It was built larger than the requirements of the hour for drainage, and sooner or later will form a part of the waterway that will permit river steamers to ply between the Lakes and the Gulf. When the State legislation authorizing the canal was passed, a provision was incorporated providing that, in order to prevent the sewage from becoming a nuisance and a menace to the country through which the canal passes, there should be a flow of 333/ cubic feet per second for every hundred thousand peo ple. Realizing that the population would probably reach three million by 1930, the city provided for a flow of io,ooo feet per second, with an ultimate capacity of 14,000 feet. But the Secretary of War, under his control of navigable waters, stepped in and fixed the flow at 5,000. Later, when it was proposed by the city to construct a branch .to drain the Calumet Lake dis trict, the question of the effect on the water level of the Great Lakes was brought in. On the ground that a greater flow would cut down the lake level, the Sec retary of War kept down the allotment; so Chicago was between the devil of State law and the deep sea of Federal order. Although pointing out that Lake Michi gan was higher in the ten years follow ing the opening of the canal than in the ten preceding; and although showing that it was higher by fifteen inches in January, 1917, than it was in January, 1916; and, further, that it was higher in 1916 than it had been in any January since 1876, the Sanitary District authorities were unable to convince the Secretary of War.