During the renovation of a tenement house at Legionów Street in Łódź, the canal of the former river was found. – The brick canal of the small river, called Ciek od Piotrkowska, is in good condition – says Miłosz Wika, spokesman for Zakład Wodociągów i Kanalizacji in Łódź. He adds that the canal has not been visited for over a hundred years.
The river flows under the building at Legionów 37a. – This discovery was expected. The course of the canal was known – admits Miłosz Wika, spokesman for Zakład Wodociągów i Kanalizacji in Łódź. He explains that the tenement houses were built on the old rivers, because in the 19th century the city grew at a truly American pace. So the valleys of old rivers and the ponds existing on them were covered up.
– The pond in the Old Town has disappeared, as has the pond in Jasień near Kilińskiego. On the other hand, the Geyer’s Pond in Jasień at Biała Fabryka was twice as large as the current reservoir in Reymont Park, Wika lists.
Risky investment and the dispute over cleaning the sewers
Some investors decided to undertake risky ventures consisting in building tenement houses directly above the sewers. During storms, as Miłosz Wika says, the canals were quickly filled with rainwater that flooded the streets and surrounding properties.
– It was argued who should clean these old sewers of sediment. The owners of tenement houses claimed that it was the responsibility of the city authorities, which in turn maintained that the owners of the plots through which they run had to be responsible for the technical condition of the sewers, says Wika.
The dispute ended only in the 1920s, when the city began to charge for the discharge of sewage into the old canals.
– The funds obtained in this way were allocated to their repairs and construction of new sewage collectors – says the spokesman of the Lodz-based ZWiK.
A city built on rivers
Wika says that most tenement houses were built on the so-called Ciek from Piotrkowska Street – it ran from Piotrkowska Street, parallel to Próchnika Street, crossed the Zachodnia Street, and along the curve it headed to the intersection of Legionów and Gdańsk, and then through the tenement houses at Legionów, Mielczarski and famuła Poznański.
– It connected with the Łódka River on the premises of Poznański’s plant. One of the buildings erected on the Ciek canal from Piotrkowska was the Fryderyk Sellin Grand Theater at 14/16 Legionów Street – says tvn24.pl.
Another river over which tenement houses were built was Karolewka. Its indoor canal started at the intersection of Kościuszko and Zielona, crossed Stare Polesie and headed to the open riverbed at the Łódź Kaliska train station.
– Over the former river, tenement houses were built at Pomorska Street, at the height of the Anstadt brewery. To this day, there is a canal of one of the tributaries of the Łódka underground there, informs Miłosz Wika.
Recently, a fragment of it was discovered during construction works. There are also tenement houses on Zgierska Street, which were erected over the canal of the former watercourse running along the former border of Bałuty with Łódź.
The discovery was made in front of a tenement house at Legionów Street
Main photo source: ZWiK Łódź