Chicago Landmarks
Clarke House First Baptist Congregational Church Groesbeck House Hitchcock House Iglehart House Illinois-Indiana State Line Boundary Marker Jane Addams Hull-House Noble-Seymour-Crippen House Raber House Rosehill Cemetery Entrance Site of Fort Dearborn Site of the Origin of the Chicago Fire of 1871 Site of the Origins of the I&M Canal Site of the Sauganash Hotel/Wigwam Soldiers' Home St. Ignatius College Prep Building Stephen A. Douglas Tomb Wheeler-Kohn House Wingert House

Pre-Fire Chicago Tour

The landmarks on this tour all played a crucial role in the early development of the City. The original Fort Dearborn, built in 1803, was the first permanent structure established in what is now Chicago. By 1816, surveying began on the Illinois & Michigan Canal, which would provide for continuous boat travel between the Chicago River and the Illinois-Mississippi rivers system.

Chicago, then a city of 3,000, received its City Charter in 1837. Development of the canal led to a land rush, and in just 13 years, Chicago was a city of 30,000. The immediate need to construct housing, along with a shortage of structural-grade wood, led to small, poorly built houses built by unskilled workers from inferior materials.

By the 1860's, Chicago had developed into a national center for commerce, serving as the westward bound transportation hub for both railroads and ships. The city's engineers began to tackle the problems of such growth, creating sewer systems, water pumping stations and mass transportation. The population had again increased tenfold from 30,000 in 1850 to almost 300,000 in 1870.

For two days in October of 1871, the Great Chicago Fire raged. It destroyed over 17,000 structures and left almost 100,000 homeless. To this day, Chicago's history is split into two distinct time frames: "before the fire" and "after the fire."

The landmarks listed here represent some of the few buildings constructed prior to the Fire of 1871 that still survive. These include some mid-19th century residences, along with some of Chicago's earlist institutional buildings.

1. Clarke House
2. First Baptist Congregational Church
3. Groesbeck House
4. Hitchcock House
5. Iglehart House
6. Illinois-Indiana State Line Boundary Marker
7. Jane Addams Hull-House
8. Noble-Seymour-Crippen House
9. Raber House
10. Rosehill Cemetery Entrance
11. Site of Fort Dearborn
12. Site of the Origin of the Chicago Fire of 1871
13. Site of the Origins of the I&M Canal
14. Site of the Sauganash Hotel/Wigwam
15. Soldiers' Home
16. St. Ignatius College Prep Building
17. Stephen A. Douglas Tomb
18. Wheeler-Kohn House
19. Wingert House