Wednesday 23 May 2012

Growing your own in early Chicago

Chicago History Museum has posted a fascinating article on its blog entitled ‘Gardening as a civil duty’ which discusses how early settlers had to grow their own edible crops, as they were unable to rely on provisions shipped west by very primitive methods.
Fort Dearborn in 1808 - community’s garden in the foreground. (attrib. iCHI-37865)
One of the illustrations (shown here) is a 1808 plan of Fort Dearborn, including the designated area of the community’s garden in the foreground.  Fort Dearborn was built by Captain John Whistler and his troops  in 1803 beside the Chicago river in what is now the city of the same name.  The original fort was destroyed following the Battle of Fort Dearborn in 1812, and a new fort was constructed on the same site in 1816 .The fort was de-commissioned by 1837, and parts of the fort were lost to the widening of the Chicago River in 1855 and a fire in 1857; the last vestiges being destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The site of the fort is now a Chicago Landmark, part of the Michigan–Wacker Historic District.

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