Welcome to the Port of Chicago
Maritime history speaks of heroes and vagabonds, romance and commerce, lighthouses and shipwrecks, industrialists and back-breaking labor, wartime vigilance and peacetime leisure, resource extraction and modern conservation. But not necessarily of the sea! Established astride a primary portage linking the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River system, Chicago has an overlooked maritime story that comprises all this and more.
In 1673, the French-Canadian voyageur Louis Jolliet was the first to notice the potential utility of the place that was to become Chicago when he paddled through the area on his way home to Montreal toward the end of his voyage of discovery with Jacques Marquette. The American Indian nations who had inhabited the area, the Illiniwek and Wea, as well as the Potawatomi, who were soon to live there, knew the place as a canoe portage between the Mississippi and St. Lawrence rivers' watersheds, but they considered Checagou too marshy for permanent settlements. Neither group had any way of knowing that within two centuries, the sluggish Chicago River would become one of the busiest ports in the world and the city that arose on its banks would become one of the largest on the continent--the transportation center of the North American interior.
Let members of The Chicago Maritime Society take you into this lively world and guide you through the passages of Chicago s waterway history with this collection of their best writings, photos, and artifacts. [via]