Released Friday, April 26th, 2019 – Listening to the first episode you learn the ground-breaking, new story of Chicago’s discovery and who truly was the first European to pass through Chicago.  In the second part of this two-part interview with historian John Swenson, he explains, “if you know where the portage is, the Marquette tells you where he was,” and that is place the Indians called “Chicagoua,” which has nothing to do with today’s city limits.  And by adding Henri Joutel’s (La Salle’s chronicler) account of this area he confirms where this place is and reveals an ancient Indian mound.

The second of a three part series of the Windy City Historian’s interview with retired attorney and historian John Swenson which will make Chicago history.  You will hear where the place “Chicagoua” was that was created nearly a thousand years ago and that it still exists today, hiding in plain sight in a Chicago suburb.

PREVIEW OF EPISODE II : The Place Called Chicagoua

Links to Research and History Documents

In the second Episode – The Place Called Chicagoua we continue our interview with retired lawyer and historian John Swenson about the place the Indians called Chicagoua. Below are links to historic items we discussed and some additional relevant research for those interested in a deeper dive into the history.

  • Franquelin Map of Louisiana of 1684
    • There are several terms on the Franquelin map are helpful to know:
      • Chicagoumeaman – refers to the northern portage route of today’s Chicago River to Mud Lake (or Oak Point Lake) to the Des Plains River and the literal translation from Kaskaskian (an Algonquin dialect) is “false Chicago” for Native Americans this river was not the way to Chicagoua.
      • Shiskikmoaskiki – refers to the Des Plains River and the literal translation from Kaskaskian (an Algonquin dialect) is the “pissing tree” referring to the swamp maples that were native to the banks of this river that could be tapped to make maple syrup.
      • Makaregemou – refers to the Calumet and Little Calumet Rivers and the literal translation from Kaskaskian (an Algonquin dialect) is “crooked river” due to its meandering course and many tributaries.
  • Marquette’s Journal in the Jesuit Relations
  • Henri Joutel’s Account – A Journal of the Last Voyage Perform’d by Monfr. de la Salle, written in French by Monsieur Joutel, first translation by Melville B. Anderson 1896
  • See our website page for Episode 1 – Who Was First? for additional links and historic references and new maps Windy City Historians commissioned of the northern and southern portage routes. (These maps are copyrighted for use or republishing please contact

5 comments on Episode 2: The Place Called Chicagoua

  1. Jack Lydon says:

    I’m dying here. End of April? What are you doing to me? Where is the place call Chicago? On Marquette’s Mound five miles from the portage. Okay, where is that? You’re killing me!

    1. Patrick McBriarty says:

      Hello again Jack,

      Yes, I know. It’s just these things take a lot of time to produce and completed to ensure they are high quality. I hope you will bear with us.


    2. Patrick McBriarty says:

      Jack – you may be pleased to know the second episode is now available. Sorry for the wait — these do take a great deal of effort and time to put together and we do not have a staff nor resources to produce these weekly. However, we think they are worth the wait and hope you will agree. Thanks so much for listening!


  2. David Gudewicz says:

    Can one visit the mound or butte mentioned in this podcast? If yes, where exactly is it?

    Also, I wonder if the folks at the Chicago History Museum / Newberry / CPL are aware of John Swenson’s work.

    Interestng stuff. Looking forward to the next episode.

    1. Patrick McBriarty says:


      There is no restriction at this point to visiting the mound in Spirit Trail Park. The site is registered with the State of Illinois so as John Swenson says, “you could not take a tea spoon of earth from that mound,” as such archeological sites are protected under the law. So naturally the area should be treated with respect as it is a spiritual place for early Native Americans.

      Swenson has shared these findings with Russell Lewis at the CHM (but unsure if there is another appropriate contact now) and is scheduled to speak on Nov. 21 at the Chicago Map Society meeting at the Newberry Library this fall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *