The Chicago Portage National Historic Site is one of only two National Historic Sites in Illinois. Chicago owes its very existence as a city to the location of this site. The first European explorers recognized the importance of this short land connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Today most Chicago area residents are unaware of its location, significance and long history in the development of our region.
In 1989 the Civic Center Authority commissioned the statue of Jolliet, Marquette and their Native American guide and in cooperation with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, installed the statue near the original Portage Creek in Portage Woods Forest Preserve.
The Chicago Portage National Historic Site is located in Portage Woods Forest Preserve on the west side of Harlem Avenue (Rt. 43) about two blocks north of the Stevenson Expressway (I55) and and Ottawa Trails Forest Preserve on the west side of Harlem on the north side of 47th Street in Lyons, Illinois.