Illinois History Minutes

June 17 Illinois History Minute


It’s June 17, the day in 1919, when the Illinois General Assembly passed a waterways act. The legislation paid for the construction of locks and dams, from the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal at Lockport to Utica on the Illinois River. The construction contributed to the Illinois Waterway system, providing a shipping route between Lake Michigan and the Illinois River. The system was completed in 1933.

Also on this day in 1919, a new comic strip made its debut in the Chicago Herald and Examiner.

Sportsman and gambler Barney Google and his racehorse Spark Plug became household names in the 1920s. They were the creation of Chicago native Billy DeBeck. Today, Barney’s friend Snuffy Smith dominates the strip, which is still in syndication.