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The History of the Chicago Portage – Lecture Series

February 25, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


“The History of the Chicago Portage”
Presented by Benjamin Sells

Benjamin Sells, author of the recently published “A History of the Chicago Portage”, will present the story of how a seven-mile stretch of marshland gave rise to the city of Chicago. From the indigenous people who first used the portage, through the arrival of the Europeans, to the heyday of the Fur Trade and the nefarious account of Chicago’s first murder, join Benjamin to learn about one of the most important, and neglected places in United States history.

“Benjamin Sells offers a lively and wide-ranging account of the history of the Chicago Portage from the time of the glaciers to the present. He makes clear that no place is as significant to our understanding the history of this region and that more attention should be given to the Chicago Portage National Historic Site.” — Ann Durkin Keating, author of The World of Juliette Kinzie: Chicago Before the Fire.

Benjamin Sells is a lawyer, psychotherapist, the author of nine books, and a former mayor of Riverside, Illinois. His latest book is “Beauty Matters: Civic Lessons from an Olmsted Village.”



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.


February 25, 2023
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Lyons Public Library
4209 Joliet Avenue
Lyons, IL 60534 United States
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