Mapping the Chicago Portage – Lecture Series
March 25 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
“Mapping the Chicago Portage: Seventeenth-Century Explorations by Jolliet, Marquette, La Salle, and Joutel”
Presented by Richard Gross
When a local amateur historian, John Swenson, and a podcast by a group of Chicago historians, writers, and artists asserted a route south of Chicago, different from the site recognized by the National Park Service, is the actual Chicago Portage, Richard Gross was moved to write a well-researched scholarly paper on past and recent efforts to establish the true location of the Chicago Portage and refute the work of Swenson. Join Rich for a look at this lively debate about the location of Chicago’s birthplace on the 350th anniversary of its European discovery by Jolliet and Marquette.
Richard Gross has been actively involved in researching the history of the explorer Cavalier de La Salle since he was a member of La Salle Expedition II when he and 22 other participants, authentically retraced La Salle’s expedition of exploration from Montreal Canada to the mouth of the Mississippi River in celebration of the US Bicentennial. Using period documents, he has spent many years unraveling the myths and confusion surrounding all aspects of La Salle’s activities in the Midwest. Richard taught high school Biology and Chemistry for 20 years.
Friends of the Chicago Portage will present four free public history lectures in its 2023 Lecture Series celebrating the discovery, location and development of the Chicago Portage. Accomplished local authors, historians and storytellers will explore the colorful history of how the passage of a pair of Frenchmen though the Portage 350 years ago led to the birth of a city, and how subsequent improvements created Chicago. All four lectures will begin at 1 p.m. on the last Saturday of January – April, at the Lyons Public Library located at 4209 Joliet Ave., in Lyons.