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Lockport Guide 2015

Letter from the

Letter from the Lockport Chamber of Commerce The Chamber of Commerce welcomes you to Lockport - our beautiful, historic community. Lockport offers a diverse blend of small, mid and large-sized opportunities to help bring your business dreams to life. The Chamber of Commerce serves and supports over 200 businesses and offers networking and other events to enhance and grow economic opportunities in Lockport. Whatever your expertise or ambition – whether you are a new business looking for a place to market your products or an established business looking to expand - there is a place for you in Lockport. Some of the opportunities that the Chamber offers to help you achieve your business goals include Business After Hours, Membership Luncheons, Ribbon Cuttings, the Autumn Dinner Gala, the Community Expo, the Old Canal Days Festival, Speed Networking Luncheons and many, many more. We are excited for the future of Lockport and look forward to joining with you in making Lockport a great place to work, play and pursue our dreams! Pete Colarelli President, Lockport Chamber of Commerce Letter from the Mayor Lockport, our historic town on the Illinois & Michigan Canal, offers a unique quality of life to all residents, whether lifelong or newly arrived. With our rich background, we take honor in calling ourselves the “City of Historic Pride.” Our downtown district and the canal corridor exemplify this history by preserving the architecture and aesthetics of the 19th century. Lockport complements this historic foundation with an excellent school system, exceptional library and park districts, some of the finest dining in Will County, and a multitude of recreational opportunities. That is truly a quality of life second to none. 4 Steven Streit Mayor, City of Lockport

History Established as the headquarters of the Illinois & Michigan Canal in 1836, Lockport lies nestled in the Des Plaines River Valley. The canal fueled the growth of not only Lockport, but the City of Chicago as well. Working to complete the I&M Canal, Chief Engineer William Gooding realized that the site of present-day Lockport, which is 40 feet higher than Joliet, had great water-power potential. In its early days Lockport thrived as the canal’s headquarters and as an agricultural processing center. In its heyday, Lockport saw the construction of dozens of flour mills, grain warehouses and boatyards. As the first navigable link between the Great Lakes region and the Mississippi River, the canal played an enormous role in the economic growth of Illinois and the Midwest. The arrival of the Chicago and Alton Railroad in 1858 was the catalyst for even more growth. Today you can tour this historic area by foot, bicycle or car. Through the extensive efforts of the community, its government and various associations, you will see everything from the simple cottages of the past canal workers to the cream-colored limestone architectural works such as the Gaylord and Norton buildings, appearing just as they did in the 1800’s. The importance of the Illinois & Michigan Canal and Lockport to the economic vitality of Illinois cannot be overstated. As a direct waterway link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, the canal cemented Chicago’s dominance over St. Louis as the center of Midwestern trade and thereby, Lockport’s legacy as the “city that made Chicago famous.” Since the days of shipping on the canal, Lockport has blossomed. While remaining picturesque, the canal is no longer the hub of activity that it was in the 1800’s. Lockport has progressed to become a city of the future while still embracing its rich past. A combination of retail stores and restaurants, light and medium industry, and an abundance of activities, events and celebrations are the new attractions in this dynamic community. Lockport truly is a city of historic pride with goals that will create an even brighter future. 55