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Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal facts for kids

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Indiana Harbor
Aerial view of Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal

The Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal is an artificial waterway on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan, in East Chicago, Indiana which connects the Grand Calumet River to Lake Michigan. It consists of two branch canals, the 1.25 mile (2 km) Lake George Branch and the 2 mile (3 km) long Grand Calumet River Branch which join to form the main Indiana Harbor Canal. The Indiana Harbor Canal also functions as a harbor and runs 1.4 miles (2 km) before reaching the Indiana Harbor which connects to Lake Michigan. In 2002, Indiana Harbor was the 45th busiest harbor in the United States, handling almost 13,300,000 short tons (12,000,000 metric tons) of cargo. Foreign trade accounted for only 500,000 short tons (450,000 metric tons) of that. Indiana Harbor is not a state-managed harbor, and it is maintained by the Chicago District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1913.


The canal and harbor were built over several years beginning in 1901. On March 26, 1901, Inland Steel Company accepted an offer from the Lake Michigan Land Company of 50 acres (200,000 m²) (20 hectares) of free land along with a promise of construction of a harbor and railroad. For its part, Inland Steel agreed to construct a steel mill there that would cost no less than one million dollars. The shortline railway connecting this area to other rail lines is still known as the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad.

Marktown, Clayton Mark's planned worker community, is located at Indiana Harbor.

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