The Reversal of the Chicago River: Bridging environmentalism and urban development

The second lecture in the Spring 2018 Real Time Chicago lecture series is ‘The Reversal of the Chicago River: bridging environmentalism and urban development’. The reversal of the Chicago River was as much of an engineering marvel as it was an early victory for environmentalists and public health advocates in the late 19th century. Richard Lanyon, the former Executive Director of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, will take us through the history of the reversal of the Chicago River and discuss its environmental and economic legacy on the Chicago region.

Richard Lanyon has had a life long association with the waterways in and around Chicago. He grew up along the North Branch, attended the University of Illinois Navy Pier campus, worked as a beginning engineer on the Lake Diversion legal controversy and capped his working life with a 48-year accomplishment with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

Richard retired from the MWRDGC as its Executive Director at the close of 2010. Currently, he is Chair of the Evanston Utility Commission, and working on a second book about the MWRDGC early in the 20th Century.