A Pleasant Surprise
Today, being the first official day of my son’s spring break, I was hoping our walk would be fun and different. It was. Despite weather more worthy of January or February (cloudy, windy, icy snow flurries, and temperatures in the mid-30s), we really had a great time.
We headed to the town of Lockport to walk along the Illinois and Michigan Canal. We also walked along the I & M Canal back on Day Forty, which is northeast of the section we visited today. I happened to pick Lockport because I knew it was on the canal, and I knew how to get there after years of high school cross-conference swim meets and water polo games. I figured I would just look for a place to park, and we’d walk along the canal. What I didn’t know was that I would see signs for “Lincoln Landing” and would stop to check it out. What a fortunate find.
Lincoln Landing is a museum and park along the canal. A sculpture of Abraham Lincoln as a young Illinois Legislator stands along the entrance to the park area. I learned later that Lincoln was one of the Illinois legislators that worked for the construction of the canal to connect Lake Michigan to the Illinois River (which would complete a waterway to the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico). The area that would become the town of Lockport was named the headquarters of the construction project.
I also learned that railroads were later built along the canal, and a train carried Lincoln’s body through Lockport after his assassination.
Lincoln Landing opened in February of 2009 as a joint project of The Will County Historical Society and the Give Something Back Foundation. The park displays several interactive signs about the history of Lockport, the canal, and Abraham Lincoln. There are also interesting displays about canal shipping and how locks work.
We briefly walked across the canal on two pedestrian bridges. I’m always a sucker for a pedestrian bridge. There’s a sturdy beauty in bridges, and standing on a bridge gives a new and different perspective of the cars or water below. I also have such respect for the civil engineers that build them; I wouldn’t be able to build a bridge to span anything.
Good day, good walk!