Last month I had a chance to meet a man I've known only online for several years. Brian, originally from Australia and now from New Zealand, planned a world trip that included Chicago for a couple of days. That put him close enough for me to visit for a few hours, so I took a day off and drove up to meet him at his hotel. We agreed that a boat tour of the river and lake sounded good, so we took off to find it.
I was so excited about being with Brian that I left my camera in the car as we explored Chicago. I didn't even get a picture of him. Duh. So here's the shot he sent me so that I would recognize him. Yes, he is a sweetheart of a guy.
On the Chicago River, our tour guide told us about the architecture and history of Chicago, most of which I cannot possibly remember. But it was fascinating anyway. I took pictures with my phone.
Each bridge we passed had a distinct bridge-tender's building. I don't know if they're still in use.
This is a close-up of the building which won the owner's request for "the world's most beautiful building." (Sorry, I can't remember its name.)
The city installed locks at the mouth of the Chicago River and established the level of the river two feet lower than Lake Michigan. It's a small lock, only 100 x 600 feet, but it's in frequent use. Because of that lock's inrushing water to the river, engineers have managed to reverse the flow of the Chicago River from the lake down to the Mississippi River. This has really helped to keep the lake clean; don't know how much it's helped the Mississippi.
This is only a small fraction of the city skyline visible from the lake. Pretty much the entire skyline (several miles long) was engulfed in the Great Chicago Fire. Chicago is now called the Second City because all the buildings you can see are built on the ashes of the first city.
Brian and I had lunch in a quiet place before I had to head back to Indy. I really enjoyed getting to know him and his story a little better, although he is quite forthcoming in his blog. You can read about his travels, his observations of the Anglican Church, and New Zealand life at Noble Wolf.
P.S. This makes fourteen InterWeb people I've met. Isn't it great?