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Archaeological society to present ‘Chicago Portage’

April 11, 2019 GMT

HORICON -- The Rock River Archaeological Society will present a program on the “Chicago Portage” presented by Jake Ilko at 6:30 p.m. April 17. Ilko is a national park ranger and guide and historical interpreter at the Chicago Portage. Ilko speaks two languages and lives in Delafield. He will offer a live demonstration of flint and steel fire starting.

The Chicago Portage is part of Portage Park, which is nearly 16 miles northwest of the Loop and has long-standing connections to water. During wet weather, early Indian inhabitants could paddle their canoes from the Chicago River to the Des Plaines on a minor portage along present day Irving Park Road. They built a village on the top of an elevation west of Cicero and Irving Park avenues. Another ridge two miles west near the Narragansett formed the natural watershed between the Mississippi and Great Lakes drainage system.

Following an 1816 treaty, the Indians relinquished their rights to the land. E.B. Sutherland set up a tavern in 1841 along the North West Plank Road. By 1845 a post office was established and the following year, Chester Dickinson bought the Inn and took the job as postmaster. The Inn’s central location in Jefferson Township made it a popular stopping off place for locals and served as a temporary town hall. The township became part of the city of Chicago in an 1889 annexation.

The program will be held at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center at N7725 Highway 28, Horicon. Doors open at 6 p.m. and refreshments will be served following the program. The public is invited to attend. For more information call 920-928-6094.