Channahon, Illinois

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Channahon is a village in Grundy and Will counties in the U.S. state of Illinois. The population was approximately 14,000 at the special 2007 census. Channahon is also the name of the township in which most of the village resides. The current village president is Joe Cook.



Its name meaning "Meeting of the Waters" in the language of the area's original Potawatomi inhabitants, Channahon is located at the confluence of the Des Plaines and Kankakee rivers, where they form the Illinois River. The Illinois and Michigan Canal (including several locks) runs through most of the village, where it is fed by the water of the DuPage River. The local Channahon State Park celebrates the region's unique geographical history.

Later in the 19th century, a railroad line that eventually came under the control of the Santa Fe Railroad was laid through the eastern portions of the township, but no railroad actually passed through the village itself. In the late 1920s, U.S. Highway 6 came through Channahon; Interstates 80 and 55 followed in the 1960s (although I-80 runs approximately two miles to the north of the village limits).

History of the Village of Channahon

The Village of Channahon grew along the I & M Canal at the intersection of three rivers (i.e., Du Page, Des Plaines, and Kankakee Rivers.) An early archaeological excavation in the 1900s unearthed mound remnants that pointed to three to four thousand years of history. The Potawatomie Indians named this area and called it Channahon, which means "meeting of the waters.". The Potawatomie Indians solely inhabited this area until white settlers looking for good farmland began to settle here in 1832.

In 1836, construction began on the I & M Canal and Channahon became the site for one of the locks that were needed along the waterway. The village itself was laid out by Myrvin Benjamin, and for awhile it was called DuPage, after the river that cut through the area.1 In the 1840s, the name of the area became Swifton, after the I & M Canal board president. This area continued to thrive until the railroad replaced inland boat travel, which caused business to decline. In the early 1900s, the automobile began to emerge as a new form of transportation. In June 1908, the owner of an automobile planned to sue the village after their automobile plummeted into the Du Page River due to a bridge failure. That incident was one of the factors in the decision of the village fathers to discard an earlier established corporate charter, according to legend.1

In 1962, the area was once again incorporated as the village of Channahon. Serious development finally began in the 1970s, as the village's proximity to two trunk line interstates resulted in both industrial growth (a Mobil oil refinery, two petrochemicals plants, a gigantic soybean oil production facility, and numerous support businesses for the freight hauling industry) and residential development. The village also saw an influx of population from eastern Kentucky in the wake of the closure of many of that area's coal mines. Beginning in the 1990s, development in Channahon took on a more upper middle-class bent, with subdivisions sprouting in the former gravel quarrying and dairy farming areas near the I&M Canal in the village's western areas, and a widely acclaimed, award winning public golf course opening in the hilly southeastern area of the village near I-55.

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