Illinois National Heritage Areas Update


Besides the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Area (1984) there are three other national heritage areas:

Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area

The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area (2008) tells the story of Lincoln’s almost 30 years in Illinois in communities where Lincoln worked, traveled, and lived. Few individuals have so profoundly influenced American history as did Abraham Lincoln. Millions around the world are inspired by the story of Lincoln’s rise from humble beginnings to President of the United States, his qualities of integrity and courage and his decisive leadership traits that carried a fragile nation through one of its most trying periods. 

A portion of the Abraham Lincoln NHA overlaps with the western part of the IMCNHA and Lincoln’s involvement in the early development of the canal overlaps in the stories of both NHAs. 

Bronzeville – Black Metropolis National Heritage Area (Proposed)

The  Bronzeville-Black Metropolis National Heritage Area (proposed 2021) is an historic area of Chicago that highlights African American achievement in arts and culture, business and entrepreneurship, politics, sports, and recreation and also serves as a memorial to the Great Migration of 1910-20, a demographic movement in which approximately 500,000 African Americans migrated north in search of employment and improved life opportunities. 

The boundaries of the Bronzeville-Black Metropolis NHA overlap the IMCNHA and its story connects with several themes, including the I&M Canal Passageway as a magnet for people, and the growth of Chicago as the pre-eminent city in the Midwest.

Calumet National Heritage Area (Proposed)

The Calumet region, at the base of Lake Michigan, contains globally rare natural areas, the nation’s premier heavy industrial district, and distinctive communities that continue to shape the natural and built landscape. Its two urban National Parks — Pullman National Monument and Indiana Dunes National Park — bookend and highlight these contrasting features. Today’s Calumet landscape — taken as an industrial, environmental, and community whole-shows how American life changed during the boom years of industrialization that followed the Civil War and how changes continued through booms and busts in the economy to the present day. 

The boundaries of the Calumet NHA overlap the IMCNHA and its story connects with several themes: a natural pathway from the Great Lake to the Mississippi basin, constructing the I&M Canal, Calumet feeder canals and Cal-Sag Channel, a transportation corridor, a magnet for immigration, a catalyst for the development of Chicago, and the creation of a modern recreation area.