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Lockport, Illinois is both a city and a township in Will County, about thirty miles southwest of Chicago. Surrounding communities include Crest Hill, Crystal Lawns, Fairmont, Homer Glen, Joliet, Lemont, New Lenox, and Romeoville. The first permanent settler in the area that was to become Lockport was Armstead Runyon, who homesteaded along Fiddyment Creek in 1830. The settlement that grew up around his home was first known as Runyonstown. However, when the Illinois and Michigan Canal established its headquarters there in 1837, the town was platted and named Lockport, for the dam and port that was built there. The canal played a significant role in the economic growth of the state and Midwestern United States, and the new town soon had flour mills, grain warehouses, boatyards, and several businesses. Lockport was incorporated as a town in 1853. When the Chicago and Alton Railroad came in 1858, the city’s growth was spurred further. Construction of the Sanitary and Ship Canal and the Calumet-Sag Channel diminished the area’s importance in the grain trade, but the arrival of commuter train travel to Chicago and the establishment of the Chicago and Joliet Interurban Electric Railway in the early 1900s boosted the town’s economy, and it became a city in 1904. Today, the Lockport Historic District, an area including fifty-nine historic buildings is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Lockport Township encompasses and includes the city, although it operates as an independent governmental body.


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