Illinois & Michigan Lateral Canal @ Ottawa

In ruins
Also known as: "Side Cut"
one block north of Superior St on Canal St

Canal connected I&M canal to Ottawa, emptied into Fox River


I&M Canal--Lateral Canal/Feeder Canal junction

East and west lock walls, looking NW

GS 10-13




This was a branch canal from the I&M Canal to supply water power to mills & factories in Ottawa. There were two main "mill races" and some secondary races. The canal was in the shape of an "L" with the bottom of the "L" called the Hydraulic Basin and the upright leg of the "L" called the Lateral Canal. A "mill race" at the east end of the canal connected it to the Fox River. To compensate for the difference in elevation between the I&M Canal and the Lateral Canal a "guard lock" south of the I&M canal controlled the water level of the Lateral Canal thru Ottawa. Construction of the system started in 1838 but was not completed until after 1840. The Lateral Canal was about 80' wide; the Hydraulic basin was about 120' wide; and the Mill Race was 25' wide. In later years water power was replaced by steam and electric generators and the canal was abandoned. In 1932 it was filled in. (source-Hiking the Illinois & Michigan Canal and Exploring its Environs, Volume 1, by Philip E. Vierling, copyright 1986)

Update Log 

  • January 10, 2017: New photos from GS
  • January 8, 2017: Added by GS


  • GS