Places of the Past
Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage. Corridor 402 Ottawa St. (Visitor Center) Morris, IL 60450 815-942-0796, 815-588-1100 312-427-3688 The Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor was created by Congress in 1984 to recognize the national significance of the canal. It extends from Chicago to LaSalle-Peru, crossing through parts of five counties including many prehistoric sites, historical sites and museums, parks and natural areas. The 97-mile-long canal, completed in 1848, was vital in the development of Chicago as a commercial and industrial center and led to explosive growth in northeastern Illinois. Portions of the canal, lift locks, aqueducts, and dams, as well as adjacent buildings such as locktender's houses, warehouses and commercial grain elevators, remain accessible to visitors. The canal corridor offers unparalleled cultural and recreational opportunities many of the historical and archaeological sites and museums listed below are within the corridor. http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/i&m/main.htm http://imcanal.lewisu.edu
Chicago Portage National Historic Site Portage Woods. West of Harlem Ave., between 47th St. and I-55 773-261-8400, 708-366-9420 The first Europeans to traverse the portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River system were Marquette and Jolliet. In 1673, they paddled up the Illinois and Des Plaines Rivers to Portage Creek, and then carried their canoes and goods overland a short distance to the South Branch of the Chicago River, and on to Lake Michigan. This location is now designated the head of the I & M Canal National Heritage Corridor. A major interpretive facility is planned for the site, which is within the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. www.nps.gov/ilmi/histsite.htm www.enteract.com/~clonk/CCFPD/ChicagoPortageHistoricSite.html
Field Museum of Natural History. 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60605 Daily 9AM-5PM 312-922-9410 The outstanding natural history and ethnographic collections at the Field Museum include material from Illinois archaeological sites. The permanent Americas exhibit, undergoing redesign, will reopen in 2004 or 2005. A new temporary exhibit "Trash to Treasure: Salvage Archaeology in the Field Museumís Backyard" displays historical artifacts deposited when the museum campus was created between 1904 and 1915. www.fieldmuseum.org
Mitchell Museum of the American Indian. Kendall College 2600 Central Park Ave. Evanston, IL 60201 Tu-Sa 10AM-PM; Th 10AM-8PM; Su 12-4PM 847-475-1030 The museum, with a focus on North American Indian art, culture, and history, includes some prehistoric artifacts. www.mitchellmuseum.org
Potawatomi Village Marker. Forest Home Cemetery 863 S. Des Plaines Ave. Forest Park, IL 60130 708-366-1900 The Forest Home Cemetery was once the location of a Potawatomi village and burial ground. An historical monument in the cemetery notes the location of the village. The earliest part of the cemetery, Waldheim Cemetery, was organized in 1873.www.graveyards.com/foresthome
Addison Historical Museum. 131 W. Lake St. Addison, IL 60101 Sa 10AM-2PM; Jun-Aug: Sa 10AM-2PM 630-628-1433 Located in the 1892 Balzer House, this local historical museum includes an exhibit with area American Indian artifacts. www.addisonadvantage.org
Warrenville Historical Museum. 3S 530 2nd St., P.O. Box 311 Warrenville, IL 60555 Apr-Nov: Su 1-4PM; Jun-Aug, also We 1-4PM 630-393-4215 Permanent exhibits include a display of Native American artifacts. www.warrenville.com/whis
Winfield Mounds Forest Preserve. Winfield Road, between Geneva Road and High Lake Road Winfield, IL 630-933-7200 The three conical mounds within the forest preserve are thought to date to the Late Woodland period, between A.D. 600-1000. Archaeological investigations by the University of Chicago in 1931 and by Wheaton College in the 1970s recovered pottery sherds dating to the Middle Woodland period, from 50 B.C. to A.D. 400. www.dupageforest.com/PRESERVES/winfieldmounds.html
Grundy County Court House. 111 E. Washington St. Morris, IL 60450 Mo-Fr 8AM-4:30PM 815-942-9024 Lobby display cases include locally collected artifacts.
Elgin Area Historical Society & Museum. 360 Park St. Elgin, IL 60120 Mar-Dec: We-Sa 12-4PM 847-742-4248 The museum is housed in Old Main, an 1856 building that was once part of the Elgin Academy. Exhibits include the E. Maude and Carl Parlasca Native American Collection. www.elginhistory.org
St. Charles History Museum. 215 E. Main St. St. Charles, IL 60174 Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM; Su 12-4PM 630-584-6077 The museum, operated by the St. Charles Heritage Center, has over 25 exhibits on local history, including American Indian stone artifacts and handicrafts. www.stcmuseum.org
Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures. Aurora University Dunham Hall, 1400 Marseillaise Aurora, IL 60506 Tu-Fr 10AM-4PM; academic year, Su 1-4PM 630-844-7843, 630-844-5656 The museum collects, preserves and interprets Native American culture and art, and is active in educational outreach to area schools, the university and the public. Displays include an exhibit of prehistoric artifacts. www.aurora.edu/museum
Kankakee County Historical Museum. 801 S. 8th St. Kankakee, IL 60901 Tu-Fr 10AM-4PM; Sa-Su 1-4PM 815-932-5279 Permanent exhibits at the museum include American Indian artifacts. www.kankakeecountymuseum.com
Kankakee River State Park. 5314 W. Rte. 102 Bourbonnais, IL 60912 815-933-1383 The park extends for 11 miles along both sides of the Kankakee River northwest of Kankakee and includes several documented archaeological sites. Investigations were conducted in the 1990s at an early 19th century Potawatomi village known as "Rock Village" or "Little Rock Village," located near the mouth of Rock Creek within the present-day park. A marker on the west bank of Rock Creek Bridge commemorates the 1840 log cabin village of Rockville. http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/R2/KANKAKEE.HTM
LaSalle County Historical Society Museum. Mill & Canal Sts., P.O. Box 278 Utica, IL 61373 Apr-Dec 15: We-Fr 10AM-4PM Dec 15-Jan 15: Fr-Su 12-4PM 815-667-4861 The museum is housed in an 1848 limestone building, originally built as a warehouse for the Illinois & Michigan Canal. Museum exhibits feature local and Illinois history, as well as an adjoining one-room schoolhouse, an 1874 post-beam barn, and working blacksmith shop. The museum includes a display of artifacts excavated from the Zimmerman site, or the Grand Village of the Kaskaskia, located across the Illinois River from Starved Rock. www.lasallecountymuseum.org/
Starved Rock State Park. P.O. Box 509 Utica, IL 61373 815-667-4726 Located along the south side of the Illinois River, the park includes 18 canyons cut into the St. Peter sandstone by glacial meltwaters several thousand years ago. The Starved Rock region was the location of human settlement from as early as 8,000 B.C. Along with a succession of prehistoric cultures, historic period Illinois tribal groups inhabited the area, with a legend derived from an 18th century conflict giving rise to the name of the most prominent rock formation. The French built Ft. St. Louis atop Starved Rock in 1682-83 to take advantage of its strategic location above the last rapids on the Illinois River, across from a prominent Kaskaskia village. Numerous archaeological investigations were conducted within the park, and exhibits in the new visitor center interpret the complex culture history of Starved Rock. http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/i&M/east/starve/park.htm
Putnam County Historical Society & Museum. Rte. 26 & Power Plant Rd., P.O. Box 74 Hennepin, IL 61326 Tu, We, Fr 8:30AM-3PM 815-925-7560 Museum with a focus on county history and agricultural heritage has a display of locally collected Native American artifacts.
WILL COUNTYBriscoe Mounds. Front St., Channahan, IL I-55 Bluff Road Exit, then south via the frontage road towards Channahon, IL This late prehistoric mound and village site, situated along the western side of the Des Plaines River, is affiliated with the Langford tradition of the Upper Mississippian, dating to around A.D. 1200-1500. Preservation of the site, now owned by the State of Illinois, is crucial in an area undergoing rapid development and loss of cultural resources. www.channahon.org/parks.htm http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/i&m/CORRIDOR/archeo/sites/sites.htm
Higginbotham Woods Earthwork. Joliet, IL From U.S. 30 west of the I-80 interchange, go north on Gougar St., then east on Francis Rd. Look for roadside parking and follow a trail north. This earthwork is an irregularly shaped embankment probably dating to the Middle Woodland period, around 200 B.C. to A.D. 500. It is situated in a City of Joliet park.
Isle a la Cache Museum. 501 E. 135th St. (Romeo Rd.) Romeoville, IL 60411 Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 12-4PM 815-886-1467 Located on an 80-acre island in the Des Plaines River, museum exhibits recreate the fur trade era of the 18th century, when French traders encountered the native Potowatomi. Exhibits include a birch bark canoe, an American Indian wigwam, and trade items. The museum hosts an annual Island Rendezvous in June, with re-enactors camping and showing their skills in activities such as musket shoots, canoe races, and tomahawk throwing. www.fpdwc.org/isle.cfm
Joliet Iron Works Historic Site. Columbia Street, just east of Rte. 53 (Scott St.) and east of the Ruby St. Bridge, Joliet, IL Summer: 8AM-8PM; winter: 8AM-5PM 815-727-8700 Archaeological investigations at this important industrial site, acquired by the Forest Preserve District of Will County in the 1990s, showed that the foundations of 19th-century blast furnaces and related facilities are still present. The site has a 1-mile self-guided tour through exhibits explaining the iron making process and the people who worked there. It is also the access point for the 11.4-mile I & M Canal Trail. www.fpdwc.org/ironworks.cfm
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. 30071 S. State Rte. 53 Wilmington, IL 60481 815-423-6370 The former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant is under development by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Interim hiking trails are now open; an interpretive center is planned, where visitors can learn about prairie ecology and the prehistoric and early historic period inhabitants of the area. www.fs.fed.us/mntp
Oakwood Mound. Joliet, IL This low, broad burial mound is located in Oakwood Cemetery, Joliet, opposite the intersection of Walnut Street and U.S. 30. The Woodland period mound may be a little older than the Briscoe Mounds. Plainfield Historical Society & Museum 218 E. Main St. Plainfield, IL 60544 Sa 1-4PM 815-436-4073 Museum has a display of local Native American artifacts.