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  • Carolyn Welch

Dredging Into the Past ~

In a recent article that was written for the website, I shared information that was found while doing research on D.D. Collins, regarding a bridge over Cahokia Canal. D.D. Collins constructed a wood bridge over the canal; then in 1892 his son, who had become highway commissioner, constructed the replacement bridge - this time made of iron.

Lannie Altenberger recently paid a visit to the gallery to give information to me on Paul’s father, Mathew L. Welch, who was running for judgeship in Madison County in 1926. Lannie and I talked for a bit when we began talking about the Collins House. I mentioned that Collins had built a bridge over the Cahokia Canal; and Lannie said he had photos of a dredger that he found in the attic of his mother’s house. I said I would be interested in seeing the photos so he scanned them and sent them to me. I think you will find these to be quite interesting.

A dredger was a huge piece of equipment that was used to clean out canals so that they could be navigated. This particular dredger worked the canals in Southern Illinois in the Cairo area in the 1890s. A very similar dredger would have been used on the Cahokia Canal.

I appreciate that Lannie took the time and made the effort to share this information with me and to allow it to be added to the Collins House website for this gives us a glimpse into life as it was in the 1800s. I am always looking for information that can in some way relate to the Collins family and teach us about life as it was in the Collins era.

In the photos below: The crew can be seen a bit better. You will note the handwritten “Aunt Kate;” she was Lannie’s Great Grandmother Katie Lovelace, who was the cook for the crew on this particular dredger.

Photos courtesy of Lannie Altenberger

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Phone:  Call Lavadna at 618.420.0288         

Mail: c/o 104 Irene Dr., Collinsville, IL 62234 

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