Chicago Landmarks

Site of the Sauganash Hotel/Wigwam

Wolf Point in 1833     Address: Southeast Corner of Lake Street and Wacker Drive
Year Built: Sauganash built 1831, destroyed 1851; Wigwam built 1860, destroyed 1867
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: November 6, 2002

Sauganash Hotel, 1833 The Site of the Sauganash Hotel/Wigwam is important in the history of Chicago's early development. Mark Beaubien built the Sauganash Hotel in 1831 at Wolf Point, on the east bank of the south branch of the Chicago River at the "forks" of the River where the north and south branches meet. It was at the Sauganash Hotel in 1833 that the newly-formed Town of Chicago voted to elected its first town trustees and where many of the town meetings occurred. During a brief period in 1837 when the building was not in operation as a hotel, it served as Chicago's first theater. The Sauganash Hotel remained in almost continuous operation until it burned down in 1851.

The Wigwam, constructed on the same site nine years later, was home to the 1860 Republican National Convention. It was at this historic convention that Abraham Lincoln was nominated as the Republican candidate for president. His nomination and eventual election as the nation's 16th President triggered a series of dramatic events surrounding the abolition of slavery and the secession of several southern states, ultimately culminating in the Civil War. His powerful leadership skills are credited with having led the country successfully through perhaps its darkest time.