Fort Dearborn 200th Anniversary Memorial Walk
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
360 N Michigan
London Guarantee Building
On August 15, 1812 the 54 soldiers under the command of Nathan Heald, as well
as a dozen militiamen, 9 women, and 18 children, left Fort Dearborn on a forced
evacuation to Fort Wayne in Indiana.
They followed the coastline of Lake Michigan, making it about a mile and a half
before being attacked by a band of Potawatomi. In the resulting conflict, which
lasted 15 minutes, 26 soldiers died, the entire militia was wiped out, and 7 of the
women and 12 of the children lost their lives. The survivors were taken prisoner.
The Fort Dearborn Massacre, as it was then called, is a founding act of violence in
Chicago history. It is memorialized in plaques on the sidewalk, on the Michigan
Avenue Bridge House, and as the last star added to the Chicago flag in 1939.
Wednesday, April 15, 2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the conflict. Violence
continues to mar Chicago’s story. In July 38 people died as a result of gunfire, and
the homicide rate in Chicago in 2012 exceeds the number of American military
deaths in Afghanistan during the same period.
On the 200th anniversary, I will walk the original path from Fort Dearborn to the site
of the conflict. Along the way, I will pause to talk about the city’s problematic past
but also to discuss its present.
The route is 2.2 miles. Bring comfortable shoes and hydration. There will be
periodic stops. The event is FREE.