South Public Landing

During the American Civil War(1861-1865), the tonnage of materials moved on the I&M Canal was the highest to date. Hiram Norton was at the center of the activity in Lockport. His building dominated the South Public Landing, much in the way he held sway in the community. The massive three-and-a-half story limestone grain elevator is still one of the largest structures on the canal.

Norton profited because he took advantage of the canal's potential, harnessed its water power, and diversified his business operations. In addition to the grain elevator, Norton built a flour mill, a paper mill, and other facilities across the canal on the hydraulic basin. For 75 years, Norton & Co. was a premiere enterprise along the I&M Canal and a solid fixture in the Lockport community.

North Public Landing

The Canal Commisioners chose Lockport as the site for their headquarters and designated this area as the "Public Landing" for the loading and offloading of boats. They also constructed an office building that still stands above the North Public Landing. Several businesses operated along the I&M Canal, such as George Gaylord's warehouse and store located to the north.

Lockport gained a reputation as an exporter of local limestone and grain, while machinery, lumber, and other goods were transported to the region. Competition increased when the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Railroad was built right along Commerce Street to the east. The ability to move goods quickly and inexpensively made Lockport's business district prosper and the community thrive.