Edens Main Drain / 1949


This photograph was taken in the spring of 1949 inside the partially complete main drain of the Edens Expressway being constructed by a Cook County Highway Department.  The main drain was the first step in constructing the Edens in this section that was below grade at the southern end of the expressway.  In order to drain the rainwater from the expressway an 8 foot pipe was constructed by dropping shafts down as deep as 50 feet then using mining equipment to bore horizontally in the clay sub soil.  Behind the horizontal bore support forms were built so a concrete enclosure could be poured creating a concrete pipe to carry off the water.  Only after the drain was complete could excavation and construction began for the structures that were below grade since they needed the new drain to properly remove water from the site.  In the first row of the picture is the author with my brother David to the left.  In the second row from right to left is John Fitzgerald from material testing, Andrew Plummer, Chief Drainage Engineer and the author's father, John McTigue and Jim Sanders.  The fellow with the tie in the back row is Pete Fischman the Resident Engineer on the project and next to him is Tom Flavin.  Despite the work going on far below the surface it was business as usual above ground as people went about their daily business unaware that work was going on below them to drain the new expressway. (Authors collection)