Fort Dearborn

Fort Dearborn

Fort Dearborn, named in honor of Henry Dearborn, was a United States fort built on the Chicago River in 1803 by troops under Captain John Whistler. It was on the site of the present-day city of Chicago. The site of the fort is a Chicago Landmark and part of the Michigan-Wacker Historic District.

Early history

In 1810, when Whistler was recalled to Detroit, Michigan, he was succeeded by Captain Nathan Heald. It was located at what is now the intersection of Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue in the Loop community area of Chicago at the foot of the Magnificent Mile.

During the War of 1812, General William Hull ordered the evacuation of Fort Dearborn in August 1812. Heald oversaw the evacuation, but on August 15 the evacuees were ambushed by about 500 Potawatomi Indians in the Fort Dearborn Massacre. 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 in 1816. This fort consisted of a double wall of wooden palisade, officer and enlisted barracks, a garden, and other buildings.

Alexander Beaubien

Alexander Beaubien was said to have been the first child of European ancestry born in Chicago. His mother was Jo­sette La Framboise, herself half Native American, and his father was Jean Baptiste Beaubien. Alexander's father was an agent of John Jacob Astor, who bought furs from the natives. The boy was born in Fort Dearborn on January 28, 1822. He saw Chicago grow to become the second largest city in the country before dying on March 26, 1907, after a long illness. [http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9A05E4DE1F3AE133A25755C2A9659C946697D6CF&oref=slogin New York Times]

Later years and legacy

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 regarrisoned following the outbreak of war with the Winnebago Indians. Closed briefly before the Black Hawk War of 1832, part of the fort was demolished to make way for a new channel for the Chicago River. By 1837, the fort was being used by the Superintendent of Harbor Works.

In 1857, a fire destroyed nearly all the remaining buildings in the fort. The forts tower bell was rescued from the remains by Police Constable Jacob Schoenewald and donated for use in the bell tower of St. Joseph's Catholic Church during its construction in 1864.Fact|date=March 2007 The blockhouse and the few surviving outbuildings were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

In 1933, a United States postage stamp was issued in honor of the fort. 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.

The site of the fort was designated a Chicago Landmark on September 15, 1971.cite web|url=http://www.ci.chi.il.us/Landmarks/S/SiteFtDearborn.html|title=Site of Fort Dearborn|publisher=City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development, Landmarks Division|date=2003|accessdate=2007-05-14]

Gallery

References


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  • Dearborn — may refer to: Places In the United States, all named after Henry Dearborn (1751–1829): Dearborn, Michigan Dearborn, Missouri Dearborn County, Indiana Fort Dearborn (present day Chicago, Illinois) Fort Dearborn (New Hampshire), in present day… …   Wikipedia

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