Do you cringe when you see the words "new and improved," because experience has shown you that it often means "costs more and works half as well as the way your grandmother did it"? This story of the Corps of Engineers versus one of the largest obstructions in the Rock Island Rapids is for you.
To your list of fearless and feisty women—if you keep such a list—please add Kate Perry of Covington, Kentucky. During the Civil War, Miss Kate was the owner, operator, and conductor of her own highly illegal railroad.
One of the oddest projects ever to reach the Mississippi River was the seventy-five-mile Illinois and Mississippi Canal connecting Rock Island via thirty-three locks with the Illinois River at Hennepin, and from there to Lake Michigan. Completed in 1907, it was too little and too late to save the dwindling steamboat traffic on the Mississippi. It was seldom used, reaching a peak of one six-hundredth of its capacity in 1929 and closing for good in 1951.