The Chicago Portage archive is available for download as a single .zip file from here. The archive includes copies of The Chicago Portage Ledger, photographs of the site, and the video "Connected Worlds: The Story of the Chicago Portage.
Furthermore, this December, we are launching a new platform for our unique digital collections.
Please take a moment to preview it and let us know what you think!


Beyond the Known World

Jolliet “informed them that we needed two guides to show us the way...."To this they very Civilly consented”.

Counting his paces across the portage like beads on his rosary, Marquette describes the portage from the Fox to the Wisconsin River:

"We knew that, at three leagues from Maskoutens, was a River which discharged into Missisipi. We knew also that the direction we were to follow in order to reach it was west-southwesterly. But the road is broken by so many swamps and small lakes that it is easy to lose one's way, especially as the River leading thither is so full of wild oats that it is difficult to find the Channel. For this reason we greatly needed our two guides, who safely Conducted us to a portage of 2,700 paces, and helped us to transport our Canoes to enter That river"

The small company of adventurer’s paddled down the Wisconsin River to its confluence with the Mississippi in seven days.  Marquette finally reaches his goal and records his feelings:

“The River on which we embarked is called Meskousing…. After proceeding 40 leagues on This same route, we arrived at the mouth of our River; and, at 42 and a half degrees Of latitude, We safely entered Missisipi on The 17th of June, with a Joy that I cannot Express.”


Next page: Picture Yourself in a Boat on a River

Jolliet and Marquette