Thursday, October 16, 2014

I&M Canal NHC at 30: Seneca

Once known as Crotty Town, named for its founder, Irish immigrant Jeremiah Crotty, Seneca is the next stop on our tour of the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor. Crotty was a businessman who was contracted to build 11 miles of the canal, part of which passes through his once namesake village.

I adore small town murals. I wish Morton Grove, where I live, had one. The man pictured is Crotty, also shown in of course the I&M Canal, the Illinois River. The shipyards reference is a salute to the time when there was a shipyard in Seneca that built LSTs, that is, Landing Ship, Tank transports for the military during World War II at "the Prairie Shipyard." There is a monument for the LSTs in Seneca as well as a wooden cross on the grounds of St. Patrick Church that marks the spot where a French priest was killed by a Kickapoo Indian in 1680. The priest, Father Gabriel de la Ribourde, is believed to have been Illinois' first Christian martyr.

Although it's just a trickle, there is water in the canal at Seneca. And as far as I can ascertain, the brown grass, possibly a different variety of plant, is just as alive as the green grass on either side.

Originally the canal was 60 feet wide and six feet deep.

The grass is really greener on the other side of the canal bridge. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the canal closed to commercial traffic in 1933. Some parts of the canal have more water than others.

There's that water!

That's Armour's Warehouse, which was built from 1861-1862. It's the oldest standing grain elevator on the banks of the I&M Canal, it's listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I couldn't quite make out the lettering up front, but I believe it reads, M.J. Hogan Grain Co. Despite its rough look, it has been rehabbed. A man who owns a house near the elevator told me when he was a kid he'd shoot out the windows with a BB gun. The windows are intact now.

The office and scale house are about 50 yards to the east of the elevator. The building on the left is an office for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Next: Marseilles

Earlier I&M Canal NHC at 30: posts:

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