John Kinzie Diorama, Century of Progress, 1933-1934
Century of Progress Records, 1927-1952, University of Illinois at Chicago Library.
Near Old Fort Dearborn you can see a reproduction of the cabin of Chicago’s first citizen, Jean Baptiste Point de Saible, who lived on the north bank of the Chicago River, and traded in furs, even before the fort was built. He was a prosperous, educated negro of French extraction. The cabin gave way to what then was considered a mansion, and in it he collected Chicago’s first art collection and library. It is thought he established his first cabin in 1777 and left in 1800, to go further south in Illinois.
Above is a diorama depicting John Kinzie’s home near Fort Dearborn, Chicago. Kinzie bought his home from Jean Baptise Point DuSable, the first non-native settler in Chicago, in the 1780s and began a trading business with nearby Potawatomi Indians. Kinzie’s wife, Eleanor, grew up among the Seneca as a captive.