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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Joliet in Will County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Hickory Creek in the 1830's

 
 
Hickory Creek in the 1830's Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 30, 2020
1. Hickory Creek in the 1830's Marker
Inscription.  This mural portrays the early mills of Joliet along Hickory Creek. Images of the original Red Mill and the Cagwin Saw Mill, as well as the old Richards Street stone bridge, are combined with serene scenes portraying the Hickory Creek area. Pioneers (and later generations) used the site for recreation. Early settlers were attracted to the area because of its rivers, streams and woodlands. Water was harnessed to power mills, and trees provided building materials. In any settlement, grist (flour) and saw mills were among the first indicators of pioneer enterprise, as bread and lumber were important staples of frontier life. The construction of the mill involved damming a stream and digging a millrace - the current that drove the wheel.

The first mill to appear in the Hickory Creek settlement was the Red Mill Company. It was built in 1830 by Col. Sayre, one of the area's earliest settlers. The mill supplied lumber for Hickory Creek's and Joliet's first frame houses and also served farmers who came in wagons with grain for grinding. The first of several early sawmills built in town was constructed by A. Cagwin in the 1830's, also on Hickory
Hickory Creek in the 1830's Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 30, 2020
2. Hickory Creek in the 1830's Marker
Marker is next to its mural, which is on a wall outside Joliet's Amtrak station.
Creek. The mural pictures early workings of the Cagwin Saw Mill, which also sawed lumber for early houses in the area. James McGee built the first mill in Joliet proper (then known as Juliet) on the Des Plaines River in 1834.

Also in the 1830's, the Joliet area's first bridge was built across Hickory Creek. Like many early bridges, they were often threatened by flooding that plagued the area and eventually washed them away. Such early bridges were followed by more durable structures like the Richards Street stone bridge shown here.

Lead artists: Kathleen Farrell, Kathleen Scarboro. Assistant artist: Carla Carr, Javier Chavira, Sergio Gomez. Mural sponsored by the City of Joliet. Plaque sponsored by the Joliet/Will County Center for Economic Development Foundation. Copyright Friends of Community Public Art 1996
 
Erected by the Joliet/Will County Center for Economic Development Foundation. (Marker Number CC,22.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & ViaductsIndustry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels.
 
Location. 41° 31.434′ N, 88° 4.809′ W. Marker is in Joliet, Illinois, in Will County. Marker is on New Street east of North Chicago Street (U.S. 6), on the
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left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 50 E Jefferson St, Joliet IL 60432, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Joliet Steam Train (here, next to this marker); Sauk Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); Katherine Dunham: Pioneer in African Dance (within shouting distance of this marker); Samuel Benedict Reed (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Morris Building (about 600 feet away); Civil War Memorial (about 600 feet away); Illinois Sesquicentennial Time Capsule (about 600 feet away); Will County Courthouse (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Joliet.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 23, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 23, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 42 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 23, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.
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Mar. 2, 2021