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Volunteers renovate Will County Historical Museum

Volunteers have renovated an Illinois museum in the original headquarters of the Illinois and Michigan Canal.

The Will County Historical Museum and Research Center in Lockport reopened for the season Thursday following the remodeling.

The 1837 building held some surprises for the county historical society volunteers. President Sandy Vasko says crews found a fireman’s ax between the walls, presumably lost by someone working in the attic.

Volunteers have removed lead-based paint, installed new plumbing and secured the building’s foundation.

The museum displays artifacts from the I&M Canal’s early days.

In 1848, the 96-mile canal opened the first water route from Lake Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico. It connected the Chicago River in Bridgeport to the Illinois River in LaSalle.