Dr. Dennis H. Cremin, assistant professor of history and director of the Lewis University History Center: Urban, Cultural and Catholic History of the Upper Midwest, discussed the 25th anniversary of the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Historic Corridor, with a focus on Lockport. His Nov. 12 lecture was part of the Art of Memory series at Lewis University in Romeoville.
From a historical perspective, as Cremin explained, the creation of the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Historic Canal represents revisionism that placed geography and the history of waterborne transportation at the center of local consciousness. Cremin emphasized that the preservation of the I&M Canal was a local movement.
Using a tape from one of his former students, Cremin was able to share an interview that was conducted with Lockport resident Jerry Adelmann, who has been active in preservation, conservation, and planning efforts in Lockport, and now serves as executive director of Openlands Project. Adelmann was instrumental in getting the Illinois and Michigan Canal to be nationally recognized.
Cremin described the benefits and importance of the I&M Canal becoming a National Historic Corridor. He discussed aspects of funding, in addition to the ways in which the canal assisted with improving the 25 percent unemployment rate in 1978 in Joliet through various restoration efforts and more. Places like Joliet and Chicago seemed to benefit more from the opening of the canal, Lockport greatly benefited as well.
The Art of Memory series is presented by the Lewis University History Center: Urban, Cultural and Catholic History of the Upper Midwest, which supports a biannual symposium. It is also a part of Lewis University’s Arts & Ideas Program, providing cultural and educational programming for students and the community. These events are free of charge and open to the public. For further information, please contact Dr. Ewa Bacon at (815) 836-5568.
A Catholic university sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis offers nearly 80 undergraduate majors and programs of study, accelerated degree completion options for working adults, various aviation programs and 22 graduate programs in nine fields. The 10th largest private, not-for-profit university in Illinois is being honored for the sixth consecutive year by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.
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