The reversal of the Chicago River

Day 1: Front door, back door

June 20, 2011

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(Flickr/Sarabeephoto)
WBEZ's Gabriel Spitzer reported from the confluence of the North Shore Channel and the Chicago River.

More than a century ago, Chicago used a combination of grit, muscle and money to turn around the Chicago River. That move forged an important connection between the Great Lake Michigan and the mighty Mississippi. But it also had some unintended consequences that are coming to a head only now.

Beginning Monday, June 20, Eight Forty-Eight will be exploring the front and back doors of the Great Lakes: the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Mississippi River as part of the new project Front and Center. The series takes a look at water-the critical resource linking Chicago with 42 million other residents of the Great Lakes basin.

To kick off the series, Eight Forty-Eight spoke with WBEZ’s Gabriel Spitzer, who is navigating the Chicago River.