Making a Modern Port

In the first decade of the 20th century, the heavy industry businesses relocated from the Chicago River to the edges of the city, and ship sizes became too great for the narrow downtown waterway.  South Chicago, where the Calumet River enters Lake Michigan, became the new hub for the ore carriers and grain ships.

In 1869, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers first began to improve the Calumet River and make it an effective harbor.  George Pullman’s decision to locate his model town and car works near Lake Calumet and the giant North Chicago Rolling Mill’s move to the mouth of the Calumet River, signaled the emergence of the region as an industrial center.