Fort Dearborn

Street Address: 
N Michigan Ave and E Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL

"The End of Fort Dearborn." Chicago History. Vol. IV, No. 11 (Spring 1957): 328.
Call No. Local History Ref F548.1.C465 (2nd floor open shelf).

The original fort was built in 1804 and was burned down during a siege by American Indians in 1812. In 1816 the U.S. Army returned to rebuild the fort (in the same location as the original), and this second fort stood until 1857 when it was torn down (though one building was left standing until 1860).



1804 - 1857

Structure Type


This is the site of the Battle of Fort Dearborn. This was a defensive framework established by the French on the banks of the Chicago River. It was double palisaded (had two fences around it) and was frequented by Miami and Pottawatomie. The fort was attacked in 1812 by the Pottawatomie. This attack on Fort Dearborn is commemorated by "Defense", a sculpture on the south side of the Michigan Ave. Bridge. This sculpture depicts a soldier in the foreground having the upper hand over the Pottawatomie. Nothing could be further from the truth. This sculpture suggests that memory is more important than accuracy in the field of history.

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