Fort Dearborn was a United States fort built in 1803 beside the Chicago River, in what is now Chicago, Illinois. It was constructed by troops under Captain John Whistler and named in honor of Henry Dearborn, then United States Secretary of War. The original fort was destroyed following the Battle of Fort Dearborn during the War of 1812, and a second fort was reconstructed on the same site in 1816. By 1837, the fort had been de-commissioned. Parts of the fort were lost to both the widening of the Chicago River in 1855, and a fire in 1857. The last vestiges of Fort Dearborn were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The site of the fort is now a Chicago Landmark, located in the Michigan–Wacker Historic District.
1856 drawing showing Fort Dearborn as it appeared in 1831
|Architectural style||log-built fort enclosed in a double stockade|
|Part of||American frontier, Michigan–Wacker Historic District (#78001124)|
The history of human activity in the Chicago area prior to the arrival of European explorers is mostly unknown. In 1673, an expedition headed by Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette was the first recorded to have crossed the Chicago Portage and traveled along the Chicago River. Marquette returned in 1674, and camped for a few days near the mouth of the river; then moved on to the portage, where he camped through the winter of 1674–75. Joliet and Marquette did not report any Native Americans living near the Chicago River area at that time, although archaeologists have discovered numerous Indian village sites dating to that time elsewhere in the Chicago region. Two of de La Salle's men built a stockade at the portage in the winter of 1682/1683.
In 1682, René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle had claimed a large territory (including the Chicago area), for France. In 1763, following the French and Indian War, the French ceded this area to Great Britain, and it became a region of the Province of Quebec. Great Britain later ceded the area to the United States (at the end of the American Revolutionary War), although the Northwest Territory remained under de facto British control until about 1796. Following the Northwest Indian War of 1785–1795, the Treaty of Greenville was signed at Fort Greenville (now Greenville, Ohio), on August 3, 1795. As part of the terms of this treaty, a coalition of Native Americans and Frontiers men, known as the Western Confederacy, turned over to the United States large parts of modern-day Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Illinois. This included "six square miles" centered from the mouth of the Chicago River.
A Jesuit mission, the Mission of the Guardian Angel, was founded somewhere in the vicinity in 1696, but was abandoned around 1700. The Fox Wars effectively closed the area to Europeans in the first part of the 18th century. The first non native to re-settle in the area may have been a trader named Guillory, who might have had a trading-post near Wolf Point on the Chicago River around 1778. Jean Baptiste Point du Sable built a farm and trading post near the mouth of the Chicago River in the 1780s, and he is widely regarded as the founder of Chicago. Antoine Ouilmette is the next recorded resident of Chicago; he claimed to have settled at the mouth of the Chicago River in July 1790.
On March 9, 1803, Henry Dearborn, the Secretary of War, wrote to Colonel Jean Hamtramck, the commandant of Detroit, instructing him to have an officer and six men survey the route from Detroit to Chicago, and to make a preliminary investigation of the situation at Chicago. Captain John Whistler was selected as commandant of the new post, and set out with six men to complete the survey. The survey completed, on July 14, 1803, a company of troops set out to make the overland journey from Detroit to Chicago. Whistler and his family made their way to Chicago on a schooner called the Tracy. The troops reached their destination on August 17. The Tracy was anchored about half a mile offshore, unable to enter the Chicago River due to a sandbar at its mouth. Julia Whistler, the wife of Captain Whistler's son, Lieutenant William Whistler, later related that 2000 Indians gathered to see the Tracy. The troops had completed the construction of the fort by the summer of 1804; it was a log-built fort enclosed in a double stockade, with two blockhouses (see diagram above). The fort was named Fort Dearborn, after U.S. Secretary of War Henry Dearborn, who had commissioned its construction.
A fur trader, John Kinzie, arrived in Chicago in 1804, and rapidly became the civilian leader of the small settlement that grew around the fort. In 1810 Kinzie and Whistler became embroiled in a dispute over Kinzie supplying alcohol to the Indians. In April, Whistler and other senior officers at the fort were removed; Whistler was replaced as commandant of the fort by Captain Nathan Heald.
During the War of 1812, General William Hull ordered the evacuation of Fort Dearborn in August 1812. Capt. Heald oversaw the evacuation, but on August 15 the evacuees were ambushed along the trail by about 500 Potawatomi Indians in the Battle of Fort Dearborn. The Potawatomi captured Heald and his wife, Rebekah, and ransomed them to the British. Of the 148 soldiers, women, and children who evacuated the fort, 86 were killed in the ambush. The Potawatomi burned the fort to the ground the next day.
Following the war, a second Fort Dearborn was built (1816). This fort consisted of a double wall of wooden palisades, officer and enlisted barracks, a garden, and other buildings. The American forces garrisoned the fort until 1823, when peace with the Indians led the garrison to be deemed redundant. This temporary abandonment lasted until 1828, when it was re-garrisoned following the outbreak of war with the Winnebago Indians. In her 1856 memoir Wau Bun, Juliette Kinzie described the fort as it appeared on her arrival in Chicago in 1831:
The fort was inclosed [sic] by high pickets, with bastions at the alternate angles. Large gates opened to the north and south, and there were small portions here and there for the accommodation of the inmates. ... Beyond the parade-ground which extended south of the pickets, were the company gardens, well filled with currant-bushes and young fruit-trees. The fort stood at what might naturally be supposed to be the mouth of the river, yet it was not so, for in these days the latter took a turn, sweeping round the promontory on which the fort was built, towards the south, and joined the lake about half a mile below
The fort was closed briefly before the Black Hawk War of 1832 and by 1837, the fort was being used by the Superintendent of Harbor Works. In 1837, the fort and its reserve, including part of the land that became Grant Park, was deeded to the city by the Federal Government. In 1855 part of the fort was demolished so that the south bank of the Chicago River could be dredged, straightening the bend in the river and widening it at this point by about 150 feet (46 m); and in 1857, a fire destroyed nearly all the remaining buildings in the fort. The remaining blockhouse and few surviving outbuildings were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
The southern perimeter of Fort Dearborn was located at what is now the intersection of Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue in the Loop community area of Chicago along the Magnificent Mile. Part of the fort outline is marked by plaques, and a line embedded in the sidewalk and road near the Michigan Avenue Bridge and Wacker Drive. A few boards from the old fort were retained and are now in the Chicago History Museum in Lincoln Park.
In 1933, at the Century of Progress Exhibition, a detailed replica of Fort Dearborn was erected as a fair exhibit. As part of the celebration, both a United States one-cent postage stamp and a souvenir sheet (containing 25 of the stamps) were issued, showing the fort. The individual stamp and sheet were reprinted when Postmaster General James A. Farley gave imperforated examples of these, and other stamps, to his friends. Because of the ensuing public outcry, millions of copies of "Farley's Follies" were printed and sold.
333 North Michigan is a skyscraper in the art deco style located in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois in the United States. Architecturally, it is noted for its dramatic upper-level setbacks that were inspired by the 1923 skyscraper zoning laws. Geographically, it is known as one of the four 1920s flanks of the Michigan Avenue Bridge (along with the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower and the London Guarantee Building) that are contributing properties to the Michigan–Wacker Historic District, which is a U.S. Registered Historic District.Additionally, it is known as the geographic beneficiary of the jog in Michigan Avenue, which makes it visible along the Magnificent Mile as the building that seems to be in the middle of the road at the foot of this stretch of road (pictured at left). The building was designed by Holabird & Roche/Holabird & Root and completed in 1928. It is 396 feet (120.7 m) tall, and has 34 storeys.
It was designated a Chicago Landmark on February 7, 1997. It is located on the short quarter mile stretch of Michigan Avenue between the Chicago Landmark Historic Michigan Boulevard District and the Magnificent Mile.
Designed by John Wellborn Root, Jr., the building's long and narrow footprint and towering structure are a tribute to Root's father John Wellborn Root's earlier Chicago Monadnock Building; Louis Sullivan's tall-building canon; and Eliel Saarinen's second-prize entry in the Tribune Tower design contest. The building was such a success that Holabird and Root took commercial residence there. The building's long and slender design optimized use of natural lighting. The building's interior represents Prohibition era modernism, especially its Art Deco Tavern club.The building is embellished by a polished marble base, ornamental bands, and reliefs depicting frontiersmen and Native Americans at Fort Dearborn, which partially occupied the site.Battle of Fort Dearborn
The Battle of Fort Dearborn (sometimes Fort Dearborn Massacre) was an engagement between United States troops and Potawatomi Native Americans that occurred on August 15, 1812, near Fort Dearborn in what is now Chicago, Illinois (then an undeveloped part of the Illinois Territory). The battle, which occurred during the War of 1812, immediately followed the evacuation of the fort as ordered by the commander of the United States Army of the Northwest, William Hull. The battle lasted about 15 minutes and resulted in a complete victory for the Native Americans. After the battle, Fort Dearborn was burned down. Some of the soldiers and settlers who had been taken captive were later ransomed.
Following the battle, the federal government became convinced that all Indians had to be removed from the territory and the vicinity of any settlements, as settlers continued to migrate to the area. The fort was rebuilt in 1816.Black Partridge (chief)
Black Partridge or Black Pheasant (Potawatomi: Mucketeypokee, Mucktypoke, Mka-da-puk-ke, Muccutay Penay, Makadebakii, Mkadébki) (fl. 1795–1816) was a 19th-century Peoria Lake Potawatomi chieftain. Although a participant in the Northwest Indian War and the War of 1812, he was a friend to early American settlers and an advocate for peaceful relations with the United States. He and his brother Waubonsie both attempted to protect settlers during the Battle of Fort Dearborn after they were unsuccessful in preventing the attack.
A memorial at the site of the massacre in present-day Chicago, Illinois once included a statue of Black Partridge preventing a tomahawk from hitting a Mrs. Margaret Helm, the wife of one of the defenders at Fort Dearborn. Black Partridge Woods, a state park in Cook County, Illinois, as well as Partridge Township in Woodford County, Illinois are also named in his honor.Door Village, Indiana
Door Village is an unincorporated community in Scipio Township, LaPorte County, Indiana. It was founded in 1836.The site of the Old Fort at Door Village which was built in 1832 and a marker designates the site. A young man rode his Indian pony from Fort Dearborn to this part of the country to warn the settlers that Black Hawk and his Indians were coming on the warpath. The opening between the great forests which came down from the north and up from the south, was designated by the French voyageurs as "La Porte" or the door, from which La Porte County derived its name. The Marker is located on Joliet Road, on the north side near the intersection with Long Lane.
Joliet Road follows the Old Sauk Trail from the south side of present-day LaPorte to the Town Of Westville.Flag of Chicago
The flag of Chicago consists of two blue horizontal stripes or bars on a field of white, each stripe one-sixth the height of the full flag, and placed slightly less than one-sixth of the way from the top and bottom. Between the two blue stripes are four red, six-pointed stars arranged in a horizontal row.
The City of Chicago flag, designed by Wallace Rice, was adopted in 1917 after Rice won the design competition. The three sections of the white field and the two stripes represent geographical features of the city, the stars symbolize historical events, and the points of the stars represent important virtues or concepts. The historic events represented by the stars are Fort Dearborn, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, and the Century of Progress Exposition of 1933–34.
In a review by the North American Vexillological Association of 150 American city flags, the Chicago city flag was ranked second best with a rating of 9.03 out of 10, behind only the flag of Washington, D.C.Fort Dearborn Hotel
The Fort Dearborn Hotel is a skyscraper and former hotel located at 401 S. Lasalle St. in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois. The 17-story hotel was designed by Holabird & Roche and finished in 1914. Designed in the Venetian Renaissance style, the hotel was built with gray and reddish brown brick and featured terra cotta ornamentation. The lobby features two murals by local artist Edgar Cameron depicting scenes of Fort Dearborn. The hotel was built to serve businessmen during a period of extensive hotel construction in Chicago; its site was chosen for its access to transportation, as it was located near LaSalle Street Station and the LaSalle/Van Buren 'L' station. The Hotel Sherman Co. owned both the Fort Dearborn Hotel and the nearby Hotel Sherman, and the two hotels had a common management and kitchen staff. However, while the Hotel Sherman was a typical luxury hotel of the era, the Fort Dearborn Hotel focused on providing practical amenities at lower rates and set an example as a "popular, commercial hotel". The hotel is now an office building known as the LaSalle Atrium Building.The Fort Dearborn Hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 12, 1982.George Ronan
Ensign George Ronan was a commissioned officer of the United States Army. Educated at West Point and commissioned as an officer in the 1st Infantry Regiment in 1811, he was assigned to duty at Fort Dearborn, a frontier post at the mouth of the Chicago River. Just over one year later Ronan was killed in combat in the Battle of Fort Dearborn. He was the first member of the West Point Corps of Cadets to perish in battle.Illinois Territory in the War of 1812
During the War of 1812, the Illinois Territory was the scene of fighting between Native Americans and United States soldiers and settlers. The Illinois Territory at that time included the areas of modern Illinois, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota and Michigan.
Tensions in the Illinois Territory between U.S. settlers and Native Americans were on the rise in the years before the War of 1812. At Peoria, Potawatomi chief Main Poc was a supporter of the resistance movement of Shawnee prophet Tenskwatawa and his brother Tecumseh. Raids against American settlers in Illinois increased after the Shawnee brothers' loss at the Battle of Tippecanoe in the Indiana Territory in 1811.There were few U.S. Army soldiers this far west on the frontier. Ninian Edwards, the territorial governor, directed state militia operations. The low point for the Americans came in August 1812, when a large Indian force, primarily Potawatomis, attacked soldiers and civilians as they evacuated Fort Dearborn in Chicago.In October 1812, the Americans launched an expedition against the Native villages in the Peoria area. Led by Governor Edwards and Colonel William Russell, they attacked and destroyed Potawatomi and Kickapoo villages, prompting the Natives to abandon the area. Raids continued, however.
In September 1813, the Americans built Fort Clark in Peoria. In June 1814, William Clark built Fort Shelby at Prairie du Chien. The British captured the fort in July and renamed it Fort McKay. Two American attempts to send more troops to Prairie du Chien were turned back by Indian attacks at Rock Island Rapids and Credit Island, the final actions of the War of 1812 in the region. Hostilities between the U.S. and area Native Americans would resume in the Winnebago War of 1827 and the Black Hawk War of 1832.5 million acres of land in the Illinois Territory, between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers below Rock Island was set aside as the Military Tract of 1812 to pay soldiers in land grants for their service. This is over 1/8 of the area of the modern state and included Indian-occupied areas, some of whose displaced inhabitants would later join Blackhawk.
The state of Illinois has a list of 1,500 names of militiamen and officers from original muster rolls although the muster lists are known to be incomplete.John Kinzie
John Kinzie (December 23, 1763 – June 6, 1828) was a fur trader from Quebec who first operated in Detroit and what became the Northwest Territory of the United States. A partner of William Burnett from Canada, about 1802-1803 Kinzie moved with his wife and child to Chicago, where they were among the first permanent European settlers. Kinzie Street (400N) in Chicago is named for him. Their daughter Ellen Marion Kinzie, born in 1805, was believed to be the first child of European descent born in the settlement.
In 1812 Kinzie killed Jean La Lime, who worked as an interpreter at Fort Dearborn in Chicago. This was known as "the first murder in Chicago".During the War of 1812, when living in Detroit, Kinzie was accused of treason by the British and imprisoned on a ship for transport to Great Britain. After escaping, he returned to American territory, settling again in Chicago by 1816. He lived there the rest of his years.London Guarantee Building
The London Guarantee Building or London Guaranty & Accident Building is a historic 1923 commercial skyscraper whose primary occupant since 2016 is the LondonHouse Chicago Hotel Formerly, for a time named the Stone Container Building, it is located near the Loop in Chicago, and is one of four 1920s skyscrapers that surround the Michigan Avenue Bridge (the others are the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower and 333 North Michigan Avenue) and is a contributing property to the Michigan–Wacker Historic District. It stands on part of the former site of Fort Dearborn. The building was designated a Chicago Landmark on April 16, 1996.Michigan–Wacker Historic District
The Michigan–Wacker Historic District is a National Register of Historic Places District that includes parts of the Chicago Loop and Near North Side community areas in Chicago, Illinois, United States. The district is known for the Chicago River, two bridges that cross it, and eleven high rise and skyscraper buildings erected in the 1920s. Among the contributing properties are the following Chicago Landmark structures:
333 North Michigan
London Guarantee Building (360 North Michigan)
Carbide & Carbon Building (230 North Michigan)
Michigan Avenue Bridge
35 East Wacker
Mather Tower (75 East Wacker)
Tribune Tower (435 North Michigan)
Other notable sites include Pioneer Court the Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite (401 North Michigan), which as the site of Chicago's first permanent residence is a National Historic Landmark, and the Wrigley Building (410 North Michigan). Across the Michigan Avenue Bridge is the former site of Fort Dearborn, the US Army post established in 1803. To the west is the Heald Square Monument, a statue of George Washington and the financiers of the American Revolution.
The district includes contributing properties with addresses on North Michigan Avenue, East Wacker Drive, North Wabash Avenue and East South Water Street. Other streets in the district are Rush Street, Hubbard, Illinois and Kinzie. The majority of these properties are on Michigan, with addresses ranging from 230 North Michigan to 505 North Michigan. The district also includes parts of Michigan, Wacker and East South Water, which are all among the many multilevel streets in Chicago. Most of its contributing high-rise buildings and skyscrapers are of either Gothic or Baroque architecture, in addition to Art Deco. The district is north of the Historic Michigan Boulevard District.
It was listed as on the National Register of Historic Places on November 15, 1978.Nathan Heald
Nathan Heald (New Ipswich, New Hampshire September 24, 1775 – O'Fallon, Missouri April 27, 1832) was an officer in the U.S. Army, during the War of 1812. He was in command of Fort Dearborn in Chicago during the Battle of Fort Dearborn.Heald was a captain stationed in Fort Wayne, Indiana prior to his appointment at Fort Dearborn, where he relieved the fort's first commander, John Whistler in 1810. The following year, Heald traveled back to Fort Wayne in order to marry Rebecca Wells and returned to the fort with his bride.
On August 9, Heald received orders from General William Hull to evacuate the troops from Fort Dearborn, leaving behind all the supplies at the fort. This meant that the Potawatomi would take the supplies and sell them to the British. Heald decided, therefore, not to leave the fort. On August 15, a group of Miami Indians led by his wife's uncle, Captain William Wells, arrived from Fort Wayne to provide assistance. A band of Potawatomi attacked the column, killing many civilians and soldiers. The ones they did not kill were held for ransom and sold to the British who then set them free. Heald and his wife were both wounded, Heald being shot through the hips.
The Healds made their way across Lake Michigan and eventually arrived at Fort Detroit, then in British hands, where they surrendered. The British transported them to Buffalo, New York, where they were ransomed back to the Americans. Heald was promoted to major shortly after his release, and was given a disability discharge in 1814. He and his wife returned to Fort Wayne.
In 1817, Heald moved to O'Fallon, Missouri and purchased the former Fort Zumwalt. He and his wife had three children, Mary, Darius and Margaret.
Heald Square in Chicago is named after Nathan Heald.Odiorne Point State Park
Odiorne Point State Park is a New Hampshire state park located on the seacoast in Rye near Portsmouth. The point got its name from the Odiorne family, who settled on the land in the mid-1660s. Among the park's features are the Seacoast Science Center and the remains of the World War II Fort Dearborn.The park is the site of the former Pannaway Plantation, the location of the first European settlement in New Hampshire, and is commemorated by a memorial in the park.Near Odiorne Point is one of the Sunken Forests of New Hampshire.Pesotum, Illinois
Pesotum is a village in Champaign County, Illinois, United States. The population was 551 at the 2010 census.
The village was named after Pesotum, an Indian warrior in the Battle of Fort Dearborn.Prairie Avenue District
The Prairie Avenue District is a historic district in the Near South Side community area of Chicago, Illinois. It includes the 1800 and 1900 blocks of South Prairie Avenue and the 1800 block of South Indiana, and 211-217 East Cullerton. It was the site of the Battle of Fort Dearborn and became the city's most fashionable residential district after the Great Chicago Fire. It was designated a Chicago Landmark on December 27, 1979. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 15, 1972. The John J. Glessner House, designed by Henry Hobson Richardson in 1885–1886 at 1800 S. Prairie Avenue, has been restored as a historic house museum and is open for public tours. In 2006, the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance, a non-profit organization was formed to provide representation for thousands of South Loop residents, including the Prairie District, Central Station and Museum Park, Motor Row, the South Michigan Ave Corridor, as well as other areas of the Near South Side.Rye Air Force Station
Rye Air Force Station (ADC ID: M-104) is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 3.1 miles (5.0 km) southeast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was closed in 1957.The Fort Dearborn Massacre Monument
The Fort Dearborn Massacre Monument, also known as Potawatomi Rescue and Black Partidge Saving Mrs. Helm, is an 1893 bronze sculpture by Carl Rohl-Smith (1848–1900), installed in Chicago, in the U.S. state of Illinois.Wells Street (Chicago)
Wells Street is a main North–South street in downtown Chicago. It is officially designated as 200 West, and is named in honor of William Wells, a United States Army Captain who died in the Battle of Fort Dearborn. Between 1870 and 1912 it was named 5th Avenue so as not to tarnish the name of Wells during a period when the street had a bad reputation.Wells Street is interrupted by Guaranteed Rate Field, Interstate 55, and Lincoln Park. Wells Street crosses the Chicago River at the Wells Street Bridge.
Some downtown blocks of Wells Street are located beneath the Chicago 'L' train system. The first Crate & Barrel store, which opened in 1962, was located on Wells Street.Wells Street was named in Time Magazine's 1976 article "The Porno Plague".
Chicago Landmark memorials and monuments
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National Register of Historic Places,
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National Register of Historic Places
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