Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, & Technology
Back to the LHL Home Page | Back to the Exhibitions Home Page

Water Supply
Chicago Lake Tunnel
Chicago River Reversal

The Lake Tunnel in Chicago

The Two-Mile Crib
Digging the Lake Tunnel
Chicago Water Tower

Centuries of Civil Engineering

Ericson, John (Member ASCE and City Engineer, Chicago)
Report on the Water Supply System of Chicago: Its Past, Present and future.
Chicago, 1905.
Presented by the author to the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Water Supply
Image Index


The success of the water supply system designed by Ellis Chesbrough for Chicago made it a model for other cities that border large bodies of fresh water, as well as a precedent for expansion of Chicago's system. By 1905 when the City Engineer wrote this report and gave this copy to the ASCE, Chicago had five cribs for taking water from the lake and used multiple pumping stations.

The Chicago Water Tower and pumping station is a familiar landmark at North Michigan and Chicago avenues that was completed in 1869 as part the plan for the water supply system. The tower housed a vertical standpipe 138 feet tall that relieved excess pressure in the distribution lines. Designed in a Gothic style by architect William Boylington and built of stone, it was one of a few buildings to survive the great Chicago fire of 1871, and remains today as a symbol of one of the remarkably successful civil engineering projects of the nineteenth century.


Home Credits Order Brochure
Copyright©2002 Linda Hall Library, 5109 Cherry St., Kansas City, Missouri 64110-2498 USA. (816) 363-4600.  If you have questions or comments about this site, send mail to the exhibition curator or to webmaster.  For reference questions, send mail to Reference or to the exhibition curator.  Most recent site update: October 28, 2002