Greater Chicago Area

Beggs' Fort | Camp Blum | Campbell's Fort | Fort de Checagou | Fort Dearborn
Camp Douglas (1) | Camp Dunne | Fort Du Page | DuSable's Post | Camp Ellsworth
Camp Fremont | Friend's Post | Camp Fry | Camp Geismar | Camp Goodell | Camp Hammond
Higginbotham's Fort | Camp Highwood | Kankakee Fort | Kinzie's Post | La Taupine's Post
Little Fort | Lockport Fort | Camp Logan (2) | Camp Long | Camp Lyon (1) | Camp McDowell
McKee's Fort | Camp Mather (1) | Camp Mulligan | Naper's Fort | Fort Nonsense | Fort Paine
Camp Parole | Fort Payne | Fort Le Pouz | Camp Reinberg | Fort St. Joseph | Fort Sheridan
Camp Sigel | Camp Slemmer | Camp Song | Camp Steadman | Camp Tyler
Walker's Grove Fort | Camp Webb | Camp Wood (2)

Chicago's Cold War AAA Defenses

Northern Illinois - page 1 | Southern Illinois - page 3

Last Update: 07/MAY/2018
Compiled by Pete Payette - ©2018 American Forts Network

Early Chicago Settlement Forts

Fort de Checagou ?
(1683 ?)
A French or Miami Indian fort/stronghold was first noted on a French 1683 map. A French mission was established among the Miami Indians at the mouth of the Chicago River by 1698, but was abandoned around 1700. There was never any French fort built here after that time, contrary to numerous maps and rumors over the centuries. See also Chicago's Mythical French Fort by the Encyclopedia of Chicago

Jean DuSable's Trading Post
(1779 - 1800)
A pioneer settlement that eventually grew into the city we know today. Plaque located at the Wrigley Building on Michigan Ave.. Jean DuSable was a free black from Haiti. After his wife and son died, DuSable sold out in 1800 to Jean Lalime and relocated to St. Charles, Missouri. Jean Lalime later sold out to John Kinzie in 1804.

John Kinzie's Trading Post
(1804 - 1828)
Located near the Chicago River. This may have been the same as DuSable's Post. John Kinzie was a Québec-born trader. Kinzie was present at the fall of Fort Dearborn, and he and his family were unharmed during the subsequent massacre.

Fort Dearborn
(1803 - 1812, 1816 - 1837), Chicago
A crude log structure 15-feet high, with a small parade ground, Officers' quarters, barracks, guardhouse, magazines, and two blockhouses, located across the river from Kinzie's Post. The post became part of the Federal "Factory system" of Indian trading posts from March 1805 - 1812, and resuming from 1816 - 1822, serving the Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Sauk, Fox, and other local tribes. The government Indian Agency was originally located just outside the west end of the fort, and the Agent's residence was also located outside of the fort proper on the fort's south side (near where the lighthouse would later be built in 1832). The fort and Indian Agency buildings were burned by Potawatomi Indians in August 1812 just after the post was ordered evacuated by General William Hull. The Indians also massacred most of the people who had left the fort. The fort was rebuilt on the same site in 1816, while a new storage barn replaced the old Indian Agency building, and the Indian Agent's new residence was built on the north side of the river. Within the new fort were several stone buildings. Briefly abandoned by the Army from 1823 until 1828 (following the Winnegabo War), however the post was not again garrisoned by any federal troops during the Black Hawk War in 1832. The fort was officially abandoned by the Army in 1837. It still stood until 1856 when it was finally torn down. One small outbuilding remained until the Great Fire of 1871. Original site located on East Wacker Drive between Michigan and Wabash Aves., marked by embedded metal plaques in the sidewalks. A replica was built in 1933 for the Chicago World's Fair (at Prairie and 16th Streets ? or on 26th Street near Lake Michigan ?). It was later dismantled. See also The History of the First and Second Fort Dearborn in Chicago by Neil Gale || The Fort Dearborn Massacre by Troy Taylor

Chicago Civil War Camps
(1860's), Chicago
Camp Douglas (1) (1861 - 1865), a 60-acre training camp, and later a Confederate POW camp after 1862. Located between 31st Street and College Place, and Cottage Grove and Forest Ave.. About 30,000 Confederate POW's were interred here during the course of the war. See also Encyclopedia of Chicago
Camp Blum (1861), a recruiting camp, undetermined location.
Camp Dunne, undetermined location.
Camp Ellsworth, undetermined location.
Camp Fremont, undetermined location.
Camp Fry (1864 - 1865), a training camp, then used as a POW camp. Located at the Broadway, Clark Street, and Diversey Ave. intersection.
Camp Long (1861), undetermined location.
Camp Mather (1) (1861), undetermined location.
Camp Mulligan, undetermined location.
Camp Parole, undetermined location.
Camp Sigel, undetermined location.
Camp Slemmer (1861), undetermined location.
Camp Song, undetermined location.
Camp Tyler, undetermined location.
Camp Webb, undetermined location.

Camp Steadman
(1898), Chicago
A Spanish-American War assembly camp for the Illinois Naval Militia. Possibly located at the armory at 20 Michigan Ave., or at the Fort Sheridan wharf.

Fort Sheridan
(Lake County Forest Preserve)
(1887 - 1993), Highwood
Originally called Camp Highwood until 1888, it was established to quell labor riots in Chicago. The Tower was built in 1891 as barracks, originally 227 feet high. It was renovated in 1940 for use as a water tank, and cut down to 167 feet. Camp Geismar was a WWI training camp on post. Became a General Hospital from 1918 - 1920 for the war wounded. Camp Leonard Wood (2) (1920's - 1939) was a temporary tent camp used for field and anti-aircraft artillery training until replaced by Camp Haven (1939 - 1959). The post became a NIKE missile launch site from 1955 - 1963, and was the NIKE missile regional headquarters for the Chicago Air Defense from 1954 - 1974 (C-98). A four-gun 90mm AA battery was located on post in 1952 - 1955. About half of the former post is still used for the Army Reserve and IL National Guard, as well as Army and Navy housing. The historical cantonment area is now an upscale residential housing development. Remaining open space became the Lake County Forest Preserve.
See also Encyclopedia of Chicago || CGM Photography

Cold War AAA Defenses of Chicago
(1952 - 1957), Chicago area
Several permanent sites were established for the Army's Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA) Gun Site Program, the precursor to the NIKE missile defense program. Four 90mm AA guns (or four 120mm AA guns as noted) were positioned at each site, with troop barracks and other support buildings. Known sites include:
Chicago (1952 - 1956): at 1660 East Hyde Park Blvd..
Chicago (1952 - 1954) 120mm guns and 90mm guns: at Navy Pier.
Chicago (1952 - 1953) 120mm guns, at Promontory Point (C-42).
Chicago (1953 - 1954) 120mm guns: undetermined (C-90).
Chicago (1952 - 1953) 120mm guns: at Burnham Park (C-28).
Skokie (1952 - 1956): 90mm gun battery headquarters only, at Lalse and Lowell Streets (C-91).
Skokie (1953 - 1954) 120mm guns: undetermined (C-95).
Fort Sheridan (1952 - 1955): on post (C-98).
Palatine (1952 - 1956): undetermined (C-61).
Argo (1952 - 1956): undetermined (C-62).
Maywood (1952 - 1956): undetermined (C-76).
Westchester (1952 - 1956): undetermined (C-71).
LaGrange (1953 - 1956): undetermined (C-66).
Darien (1952 - 1956): at Argonne National Laboratory (C-86).
Alsip (Oaklawn) (1953 - 1957): at 130th Street and Cicero Ave..

A possible 120mm AA gun site was located at Indiana Dunes State Park, near Porter, Indiana, (1953 - 1954) (C-30 (Temporary)).

NIKE missile defense sites (1955 - 1974) are beyond the scope of this website.

Little Fort
(1725 - 1760), Waukegan
An early French trading post. The town, settled in the 1830's, was originally named Little Fort until 1849.

Camp Logan (2)
(Illinois Beach State Park - North Unit)
(1893 - 1971 ?), Winthrop Harbor
A state National Guard summer encampment and training area. Expanded in 1899. Used by the U.S. Navy in WWI and WWII to train recruits from the Great Lakes Naval Training Station. Also used by the F.B.I. after the 1930's for marksmanship training. Several buildings still remain.

Camp Reinberg
(1917), Palatine
A temporary WWI encampment.

Fort Du Page
(1832), near Wheaton
A 100-foot square militia fort with two blockhouses, garrisoned by 50 men.

Capt. Joseph Naper's Fort
(1831 - 1832), Naperville
A settlers' minimally fortified trading post that was used for limited defense until Fort Payne was built.

Fort Payne
(Naper Settlement)
(1832), Naperville
A 100-foot square wooden stockade with two blockhouses, built by the local militia under Capt. Morgan Payne. Also spelled Paine. The area became the Fort Hill Campus of North Central College in 1861, site marked at the Mernier Field House at 450 South Brainard Street. A smaller scale replica of the fort was built in 1979 at Naper Settlement Museum, a living history village of historic buildings operated by the Naperville Heritage Society, located at 523 South Webster Street (admission fee).

Camp McDowell
(McDowell Grove Forest Preserve)
(1942 - 1945), Naperville
An Army Signal Corps radar operations and maintenance training center during WWII. Originally a C.C.C. camp from 1933 to 1938. Acquired by DuPage County in 1946 as public open space (515 acres).

Camp Hammond
(1861), Aurora
A Civil War training camp.

Camp Lyon (1)
(1861), Geneva
A Civil War training camp.

Rev. Stephen Beggs' Fort
(1832), Plainfield
A settlers' stockaded blockhouse during the Black Hawk War, built using the lumber from Rev. Stephen Beggs' barn and shed. Also known as Walker's Grove Fort. The settlement was known as Walker's Grove until 1834. A monument is located next to the flagpole at the southwest corner of the Central High School grounds.

Lockport Fort
(1832), Lockport
A settlers' town defense located on the east side of the Des Plains River between Big Run Creek and Fraction Run Creek.

Fort Nonsense
(1832), Joliet
A temporary settlers' defense built on the farm of Jesse Cook, located on a bluff on the west side of the Des Plains River. It was a 100-foot square stockade with a blockhouse in the northeast corner. It was so named because there was no access to a water supply, and no provision made for food or armaments. Located near the "Old Settler's Cave" which was used for protection during the settlement's early days. Site at or near 306 North Broadway, west of Bluff Street.
(thanks to Greg Carter, Old Lead Mine Region Historical Society, for providing info)

Camp Goodell
(1861), Joliet
A Civil War training camp located near present-day Ingalls Park.

James Higginbotham's Fort
(1832), Ridgewood
A settlers' blockhouse located east of Joliet on the west side of Hickory Creek, where present-day East Cass Street (US 30) crosses the creek.

Fort Le Pouz
(1729 - 1730), near New Lennox
A fortified French trade post built by Lt. Nicholas Antoine Coulon sieur de Villiers. It was abandoned and burned by the French after one season to prevent its use by the Sauk Indians after the French and Illinois Indian massacre of 800 Fox (Mesquakie) Indians in 1730 in present-day McLean County. The site along Hickory Creek remained untouched by modern development until logged in 1918 and became a park in the early 1920's. Irregular earthworks about 120 feet by 146 feet and two feet high still exist, along with ground depressions for a well and magazine, located within Higginbotham Woods county preserve maintained by the Joliet Park District, located south of Francis Road just west of I-80. Site marked by stone monument.

Also in this vicinity are the marked stone-fireplace ruins of Aaron Friend's Trading Post log cabin (1829).

McKee's Fort
(1832 ?), Will County
A settlers' fortified homestead. Undetermined location.

Campbell's Fort
(1832 ?), Will County
A settlers' fortified homestead. Undetermined location.

Kankakee Fort
(1832), Kankakee
A settlers' defense built during the panic of the Black Hawk War. There was no real threat this far east, although many settlers from the affected towns further west did seek shelter here. Undetermined location.

NEED MORE INFO: French trade post La Taupine's Post (1674) located on the Fox River somewhere west of Chicago, according to the "National Atlas of Canada" (1974).

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Eastern Forts