Celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the I&M Canal

Celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the I&M Canal. April marks the beginning of the year-long celebration in honor of the I&M Canal. This month will feature special events and activities that span the 60 communities in the I&M Canal National Heritage Area. Here are some events to celebrate the Anniversary. 

4/10 - Meet Abraham Lincoln
•    11 am in Joliet, IL - On the steps of the Will County Courthouse
•    1:30 pm in Morris, IL - On the steps of the Grundy County Courthouse
•    4 pm in Ottawa, IL. In Washington Square Park, with a short reception to follow at the Reddick Mansion 

Travel back to 1848 as Illinois Congressman Abraham Lincoln salutes the opening of the I&M Canal.

4/12 – Mass at St. James at Sag Bridge
St. James at Sag Bridge
10600 Archer Avenue, Lemont, IL

Catholic Mass will be celebrated by Pere Jacques Marquette and S.J. at St. James at Sag Bridge. There will be a reception to follow in the parish hall. 

4/14 – 26th Annual Boat Captain’s Luncheon
Bolingbrook Golf Club

2001 Rodeo Drive, Bolingbrook, IL

There will be a gathering of canal supporters throughout the National Heritage Area to celebrate the work and passion of its partners. Register online. 

4/15 – Louis Jolliet: A Solid Path Through Water
Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park and Theatre
201 W Jefferson Street, Joliet, IL

This is a one-act, one-person play written and performed by Jim Healy in honor of the 350th Anniversary of Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet's voyage down the Mississippi River in 1673. Tickets on sale now. 

4/16 – “Untold African American Stories”
Lock 16 Café
754 First Street, LaSalle, IL

The Canal Corridor Association will host an Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau presentation entitled “Untold African American Stories” by Mary Francis. Ms. Frances will give a brief story about each of the ten large images of African Americans in her presentation and encourage audience engagement. 

4/16 – 4/23 – I&M Canal Clean-up
After the long winter, debris, and litter descend upon the trail and banks of the canal. Clean-ups are organized to beautify the surroundings. 


Lemont Junior Ranger Day
The Forge: Lemont Quarries
1001 Main St, Lemont, IL

Celebrate Earth Day with the whole family. Meet a National Park Service ranger and learn about America’s first National Heritage Area. You will receive a Junior Ranger badge, a certificate, and knowledge. 

The Chicago Portage – A Lasting Gift – Lecture Series
Lyons Public Library
4209 Joliet Avenue, Lyons, IL

Presented by Richard Lanyon, this is not just a story; it is still a vital vein of Midwest commerce. Local author and historian Dick Lanyon will take us on a journey through the development of a waterway route.