US Army Corps of Engineers
Chicago District Website

Welcome to the Chicago District Historical Resources Page!

2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District when, in 1870, Congress appropriated the first funds to undertake improvements to the harbor at the mouth of the Chicago River and Calumet harbor.

By building the harbors authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1870, Army engineers created an important shipping center that contributed to Chicago’s growth.

Though founded in 1870, the Corps’ presence dates back to 1830 when Army civil engineers surveyed and mapped the most practical route for connecting the waters of Lake Michigan with the Illinois River. The maps produced outline Chicago Harbor improvements and establishes the eventual Illinois and Michigan Canal route.

In 1833 a town was incorporated there.