Its week number two in the Windy city and even after getting through day number eight the novelty of looking up at the skyscrapers and soaking in the views hasn’t worn off. My name is Lexie Brown and this is me adding my opinion about what we have experienced on this eye opening trip.
Over the weekend we had some time off from scheduled tours and class obligations to explore the city on our own. So of course all of us planned to sleep in on Saturday, though we weren’t given that option. That morning the Roosevelt campus we are staying in was used for the local firemen to practice sweeping a high rise building. This meant alarms going off at 9:00 am. Thankfully the staff warned us ahead of time and we all just left a little early to avoid the chaos. While we ate breakfast across the street there had to be at least 15 emergency vehicles that took over the street, you’d never see anything like that in Rolla. All in all while it was a bit annoying it was pretty awesome to witness from the outside.
Since the dorms were being used all morning I took the time to check out the Chicago public library that wasn’t far from our building. I am coming to respect that everything is massive in the city. The library had nine open floors with a couple of sublevels as well. Riding the zig-zag of escalators to the top I wasn’t sure they would ever run out of books. Then came the 9th floor, called the winter garden, it’s a magnificent open light court with plenty of seating for group or solo study. It had lots of open space and light that made me forget that I was in a library at all. If I was living here I know exactly where all my time would be spent.
Today was the first really warm day we have had up here in Chicago and Dr. Schramm had the idea of moving up our river boat tour to this afternoon rather than later in the week. Turned out to be a fantastic day to spend out on the river exploring the views from a different angle (enough though several of us got sunburns from it (Ed. – me too!)). As we traveled around the city we got up close looks at places like the Trump tower, the Civil Opera House, and the public river walk.
While the skyscrapers framing either side of the river were amazing my personal favorite part about this was the river itself; more precisely the history of it. Back before 1900 the river that encompassed the city use to flow into Lake Michigan and back then that meant so did every sewage line, trash and runoff from the streets. Since the drinking water for the city came from the lake, a massive engineering project to turn the river around was designed. Over a 100 years ago engineers managed to dig out a canal that connected the Chicago river to the Mississippi, and since water follows gravity, the river flowed away from the lake rather than toward it.
This masterful feat of engineering just reminds me all this time later than in a city like Chicago: if there is a will there is a way.