Visit To Illinois-Michigan Canal Museum in Lockport

Posted by Judy Orr on Thursday, November 10th, 2005 at 2:44am.

Today my son Chad & I & the grandkids were going to get together and attempt to exercise by walking the trail along the I&M Canal in Lockport. It was an attempt only. Last time we did it was hot and humid and looked like it was going to rain. It was a nice, tree-lined trail to start out but ended up being a long, one-way trail out in the open and we had no idea where we'd end up so we turned around after about a half hour of walking.

Since it was cooler we figured we'd do the same thing but wouldn't mind it so much since we wouldn't be sweating. Talk about not sweating, it was freezing out and extremely windy. OK, there were elderly ladies walking up the street wearing only sweaters but Chad & I were cold. I was afraid the little grandchildren would be too cold as Elle didn't have a heavy coat on. Blame it on the grandkids.

So instead of walking the trail we visited the Illinois-Michigan Canal Museum located at 803 S. State St., Lockport, IL 60441. Hours are 1-4:30 daily and admissionis free. The phone # is 815-838-5080.

Illinois-Michigan Canal Museum in Lockport


It was really interesting. A lady decked out in an outfit from the 1800's took us on the tour. It's a white building that was built in 1837 and was the canal headquarters building where the commissioner of the day lived and worked. It is now a museum and you actually tour the building. There are 10 rooms and the guide really gave us the canal history and showed us through the living quarters full of antiques.

Anyone that hates their house should check this out as they might be a bit more appreciative. Heat in only one room? No ductwork or vents to the bedrooms? A kitchen sink with no drain & a hand pump for water? Updated bath? There was no bathroom in this house. And this was a nice place to live at the time.

Bad place to bring kids! At least a 2 & 3 year old. Brett pounded on the glass displays. Elle dove under the chain keeping us away from the bedroom antiques & I had to pull her out by her feet. They were crying and screaming & we had to carry them & they were fighting us. All the while our guide was going to give us our history lesson/tour, no matter what. She was great. I would have kicked us out. She even consoled Elle during a tantrum in such a gentle manner it was almost like she was hypnotizing her. The "hypnosis" lasted less than 5 minutes.

The last stop was a room of items you can purchase. Remember, the tour was free. I bought Elle a coloring book that looked like an antique in itself. Brett got a pinwheel. There was all sorts of stuff from fool's gold to arrow heads to hand-made crafts. We quickly picked up our items & got out of there before Elle broke the coloring book display holder that she kept spinning around. We had to go back downstairs to pay for the items.

We went into the business section of the building where there were 3 more ladies in their costumes of yesteryear. I only had twenties, so did Chad. They had no change. Our bill was $3.25. So our tour guide had to get her purse & make change. On our way out we were given a slew of maps & guides including a bound Illinois Travel Guide. All this for $3.25 and Elle loves her coloring book of strange and old fashioned dolls. Looks like the book was published in 1981. OK, not quite an antique.

Chad & I would love to go back one day without the little ones because we were certainly fascinated. There are at least 2 other museums pretty close by so you might want to make an afternoon of it. But bring some change. If you are interested in Lockport homes be sure to click on the link and see what's up for sale right now.

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