Welcome to the Chicago Portage

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.

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