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ILLINOIS STATE ARCHIVES


The Illinois and Michigan Canal, 1827–1911

A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives


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DOCUMENT 49
LETTER OF COMPLAINT FROM R. OLIVER OF THE GREAT WESTERN CEREAL COMPANY TO CANAL OFFICERS
September 3, 1904




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Explanation

The Great Western Cereal Company paid $2,748 in 1904 to lease water power generated by the deep basin at Joliet. The previous year the Summit Division of the canal, that part extending from Chicago to Lockport, effectively no longer was open to traffic. Instead this part of the route had been taken over by the new Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (see document 47 explanation). When the Summit Division stopped handling boat traffic the I and M no longer received tolls from it.

For 1904 the number of boats on the then truncated line had increased to 107. But the total tonnage transported had dropped to 47,616 and the number of miles traveled had shrunk to 58,839. Leading items carried continued to be corn, wheat, flour, and lumber. While tolls in 1904 only amounted to $4,551, other revenue sources included water power leases, $18,989; land sales, $11,997; water pipe and sprinkling leases, $4,372; land leases, $3,001; and ice cutting leases, $300.

Points to Consider

What was the Great Western Cereal Company complaining about?
What kind of image does the name "Mother's Oats" convey?
How was the Great Western Cereal Company mill at Joliet powered?
Contrast this company's product images with the conditions under which they were manufactured.


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