Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite

The Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite is the location where, around the 1780s, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable located his home and trading post.[2] This home is generally considered to be the first permanent, non-native, residence in Chicago, Illinois.[3] The site of Point du Sable's home is now partially occupied by and commemorated in Pioneer Court at 401 N. Michigan Avenue in the Near North Side community area of Chicago, Illinois.[4]

Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite
Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite
Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite is located in Chicago metropolitan area
Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite
Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite is located in Illinois
Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite
Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite is located in the United States
Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite
LocationPioneer Court, Chicago, IL
Coordinates41°53′22.78″N 87°37′24.28″W / 41.8896611°N 87.6234111°WCoordinates: 41°53′22.78″N 87°37′24.28″W / 41.8896611°N 87.6234111°W
Areaabout 1 acre (0.40 ha)
NRHP reference #76000690 [1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMay 11, 1976
Designated NHLMay 11, 1976[2]


Point du Sable likely settled near the mouth of the Chicago River sometime around the 1780s and sold the property in 1800. He lived here with his wife, Kitihawa, and children. The 1800 bill of sale was rediscovered in 1913 in an archive in Detroit, Michigan.[5] The property included a house, two barns, a horse drawn mill, a bakehouse, a poultry house, a dairy, and a smokehouse. Their house was a 22-by-40-foot (6.7 m × 12.2 m) log cabin filled with fine furniture and paintings.[5]

Following Point du Sable's departure from Chicago, the home became the property of John Kinzie. In 1834 the land owned by Kinzie was platted and sold.[6] The "Kinzie addition" to Chicago, which is assumed to be coterminous with Point du Sable's estate extended from the banks of the Chicago River north to Chicago Avenue, and from State Street east to Lake Michigan.[4]


A commemorative plaque, struck in 1937, was installed on a marble block at Pioneer Court after its 1965 dedication. It reads, "KINZIE MANSION / Near this site stood Kinzie Mansion, / 1784-1832, home of Pointe Du Saible, / Le Mai, and John Kinzie, Chicago's / "first civilian," here was born in 1805, / the city's first white child Ellen Marion Kinzie".[4] While the plaque is correct that Ellen Marion Kinzie was the first white child born in the city, Du Sable's granddaughter, Eulalie Pelletier, was the first non-native to be born in the city, in 1796.[4]

Pioneer Court was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and listed as a National Historic Landmark on May 11, 1976.[2] At this site in 2009 the City of Chicago and a private donor erected a large bronze bust of Point du Sable by Chicago-born sculptor Erik Blome.[7] In October 2010 the adjacent Michigan Avenue Bridge was renamed DuSable Bridge in honor of Point du Sable.

See also


  1. ^ "Du Sable, Jean Baptiste Point, Homesite". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. August 25, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Du Sable, Jean Baptiste Point, Homesite". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on November 23, 2007. Retrieved July 20, 2008.
  3. ^ Swenson, John W (1999). "Jean Baptiste Point de Sable—The Founder of Modern Chicago". Early Chicago. Early Chicago, Inc. Retrieved September 6, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d "Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite". National Register of Historic Places Inventory. National Park Service. Retrieved September 6, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Quaife, Milo Milton (June 1928). "Property of Jean Baptiste Point Sable". The Mississippi Valley Historical Review. 15 (1): 89–96. JSTOR 1891669.
  6. ^ "Kinzie Addition". Early Chicago. Early Chicago Inc. Retrieved September 6, 2010.
  7. ^ "DuSable bust dedicated in Chicago". ABC7 news. October 17, 2009. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
Jean Baptiste Point du Sable

Jean Baptiste Point du Sable (also spelled Point de Sable, Point au Sable, Point Sable, Pointe DuSable; before 1750 – August 28, 1818) is regarded as the first permanent non-Indigenous settler of what later became Chicago, Illinois, and is recognized as the "Founder of Chicago". A school, museum, harbor, park, and bridge have been named in his honor. The site where he settled near the mouth of the Chicago River around the 1780s is identified as a National Historic Landmark, now located in Pioneer Court.

Point du Sable was of African descent but little else is known of his life prior to the 1770s. During his career, the areas where he settled and traded around the Great Lakes and in the Illinois Country changed hands several times among France, Britain, Spain and the new United States. Described as handsome and well educated, Point du Sable married a Native American woman, Kitiwaha, and they had two children. In 1779, during the American Revolutionary War, he was arrested by the British military on suspicion of being an American sympathizer. In the early 1780s he worked for the British lieutenant-governor of Michilimackinac on an estate at what is now the city of St. Clair, Michigan.

Point du Sable is first recorded as living at the mouth of the Chicago River in a trader's journal of early 1790. He established an extensive and prosperous trading settlement in what later became the city of Chicago. He sold his Chicago River property in 1800 and moved to St. Charles, now in Missouri, where he was licensed to run a Missouri River ferry. Point du Sable's successful role in developing the Chicago River settlement was little recognized until the mid-20th century.

List of National Historic Landmarks in Illinois

There are 87 National Historic Landmarks in Illinois, including Eads Bridge, which spans into Missouri and which the National Park Service credits to Missouri's National Historic Landmark list. Also included are two sites that were once National Historic Landmarks before having their designations removed. All National Historic Landmarks are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Michigan Avenue Bridge

The Michigan Avenue Bridge (officially DuSable Bridge) is a bascule bridge that carries Michigan Avenue across the main stem of the Chicago River in downtown Chicago, Illinois, United States. The bridge was proposed in the early 20th century as part of a plan to link Chicago's south side and north side parks with a grand boulevard. Construction of the bridge started in 1918, it opened to traffic in 1920, and decorative work was completed in 1928. The bridge provides passage for vehicles and pedestrians on two levels; it is an example of a fixed trunnion bascule bridge, which is also known as a "Chicago style bascule bridge". The bridge is included in the Michigan–Wacker Historic District and has been designated as a Chicago Landmark.

The location is significant in the early history of Chicago. Events from the city's past are commemorated with sculptures and plaques on the bridge, and exhibits in the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum—housed in one of the bridge tender houses—detail the history of the Chicago River.

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.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Central Chicago

Currently there are 125 National Register of Historic Places listings in Central Chicago, out of 374 listings in the City of Chicago. Central Chicago includes 3 of the 77 well-defined community areas of Chicago: the historic business and cultural center of Chicago known as the Loop, as well as the Near North Side and the Near South Side. The combined area is bounded by Lake Michigan on the east, the Chicago River on the west, North Avenue (1600 N.) on the north, and 26th Street (2600 S.) on the south. This area runs five and one-quarter miles from north to south and about one and one-half miles from east to west.

The Chicago central city area includes many early classic skyscrapers of the Chicago School of Architecture, such as Burnham and Root's Monadnock and the Reliance Buildings, as well as buildings from the early Modernist period, such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's IBM Building and 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments. Chicago's earliest surviving building, the Henry B. Clarke House is on the Near South Side, close to the Prairie Avenue District, which many critics view as the jewel of residential Chicago architecture. Architect Louis Sullivan's work is represented by the Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building, and Auditorium Building. Though Frank Lloyd Wright worked downtown early in his career as an assistant to Sullivan - including work on the James Charnley House - his own work in the central city is represented only by a renovation of the lobby of Daniel Burnham's and John Wellborn Root's Rookery Building.

At least three sites relate to the city's role in nationwide retailing. Included also are several religious buildings, six hotels, and four theaters.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted March 22, 2019.

Pioneer Court

Pioneer Court is a plaza located near the junction of the Chicago River and Upper Michigan Avenue in Chicago's Magnificent Mile. It is believed to be the site of Jean Baptiste Point du Sable's original residence and trading post. In 1965, the plaza was built on the former site of his homestead as part of the construction of the Equitable Life Assurance Society of America building. The Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite was designated as a National Historic Landmark on May 11, 1976. John Kinzie, a prominent early settler, bought and expanded Point du Sable's post in 1800. The Plaza is bounded on the north by the Tribune Tower, on the east by 401 N. Michigan Avenue, on the south by the Chicago River, and on the west by Michigan Avenue, adjacent to the Michigan Avenue Bridge. In 2017, a newly designed Apple Inc. store was opened on the south side of the court, which created new levels linking down to the river.

From 2011–2012 the plaza was the display site for the Seward Johnson statue Forever Marilyn. The statue was later moved to Palm Springs, California. The plaza was used as a location in the film Divergent in 2013. A new statue was installed on November 1, 2016 in Pioneer Court. Also created by Seward Johnson, the statue, titled Return Visit, is 25 feet tall and depicts Abraham Lincoln standing next to a modern common man dressed in beige corduroy pants, sneakers and a cream color cable-knit sweater. The modern man is holding a copy of the Gettysburg Address.


Streeterville is a neighborhood in the Near North Side community area of Chicago, Illinois, United States, north of the Chicago River. It is bounded by the river on the south, the Magnificent Mile portion of Michigan Avenue on the west, and Lake Michigan on the north and east, according to most sources, although the City of Chicago only recognizes a small portion of this region as Streeterville. Thus, it can be described as the Magnificent Mile plus all land east of it. The majority of the land in this neighborhood is reclaimed sandbar.Named for George Streeter, the neighborhood contains a combination of hotels, restaurants, professional office centers, residential high rises, universities, medical facilities, and cultural venues. The area has undergone increased development in the early 21st century as numerous empty lots in Streeterville have been converted into commercial and residential properties, especially in the southern part of the neighborhood. The neighborhood had earlier experienced booms following World War I and World War II.

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