Welcome to the Chicago Portage, the birthplace of Chicago. This National
Historic Site commemorates the place where 17th century French explorers
Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet discovered a portage connecting
the Great Lakes Basin and the Mississippi Valley watersheds. Connecting
these two watersheds meant easy access across the continent, from the
Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico. This strategic location soon became the
hub of economic activity in the Midwest and to this day Chicago is one of
the major centers of the global economy.
The Friends of the Chicago Portage exist to preserve the site and to increase public awareness of the history and significance of the Chicago Portage. The collections on this site are hosted by the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries.
Note: This site will work best on a desktop computer with an up-to-date browser. A PDF reader is required.