The Great Chicago Flood of 1992
April 13, 2012 1:27 PM Subscribe
"I have found something very interesting in the Chicago River on the east side of the Kinzie Bridge. I see swirling water that looks like a giant drain... I would say it looks like the source of the water could be the river itself, and I am hearing reports that fish are swimming in the basement of the [Merchandise] Mart just feet from the swirl! I do not see any emergency crews near this spinning swirl, but I think they may want to take a look. In fact, I think someone should wake up the Mayor!"Twenty years ago today was the Great Chicago Flood. About 250,000,000 gallons of the Chicago River found its way--via a breach caused by construction near the all-but-forgotten tunnels of the Chicago Tunnel Company--into the basements of Chicago's Loop business district. It even sent fish up into the Pedway.
The flooding resulted in the evacuation of the Loop and shutdown of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The cleanup took weeks, and estimates of the total flood damages ran around $1.95 billion.
Of course, how the tunnels came to be (back at the turn of the 20th century) is quite a tale in itself: "an audacious, legally suspect land grab by a wealthy businessman who received city permission to lay telephone wires under the Loop and parlayed that into constructing an extensive underground railroad."
The Chicago Tribune has a slideshow, as does the Huffington Post. [Previously]
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