Midwest Water

Story: In the early days of Chicago’s rapid expansion, the residents were in dire need of fresh drinking water. Existing water sources were contaminated, and day by day the conditions were getting worse. City officials knew they needed to quickly come up with a viable solution. Engineers concocted an innovative concept – to build water cribs in Lake Michigan, which would bring in fresh water to the city.

The cribs were large wooden structures built on the lakebed, several miles away from shore. Through pipes, it would bring in pure, fresh water from the lake, away from the pollution that was happening shoreside. Construction began in the 1860s, which was a massive undertaking and took years to complete but eventually, once it was accomplished, it became known as a remarkable engineering feat.

This was a true game-changer for the city of Chicago. The cribs were able to bring in clean water to the city’s residents and provided them with a reliable drinking source and helped combat the spread of illness.

Illustrations and Label Design: Dusan Sol

CGI Visuals: Amit Chippa