It is interesting reading about what the founders of Roseland went through after arriving in America. It certainly makes me appreciate so much more the conveniences we have now, I cannot imagine the constant physical hard work. To say I am semi-lazy is true. Of course I do my share of physical work – I clean, do laundry, work full-time (remotely now), but it is not that physical, and nowhere near what the past was like. One of the major conveniences I appreciate is owning a car. Sometimes I may grumble about the cost, but I am very grateful to have a car, and expressways, and clean roads, etc.
Here is a map of a portion of the pre-Roseland Calumet area around 1845, from the book “Down An Indian Trail” by Marie K. Rowlands. Ms. Rowlands actually published this as a series of 50 articles in the Calumet Index in 1949 for the Roseland Centennial. It’s such a fascinating account of what the founders went through.
You’ll see in that little square box near the bottom center where the original land purchase was made by the original founders in 1849.
It is mentioned in this book and also by Simon Dekker in his book what settlers went through to travel anywhere. There was a way if there was dry weather and a different way in wet weather, and there were stops along the way to let the horses rest, or get a cup of coffee. Simon Dekker elaborates in his book a little bit about a trip into town (Chicago):
When the farmers went to town with their produce they mostly went in clubs to take the monotony out of the long drive. There were taverns on the way where they could rest and feed their animals, either oxen or horses, and get a cup of coffee and eat some lunch themselves, for I was told a trip to town took almost twenty-four hours back and forth. The place where they generally stopped was called the five-mile house. Then there was one called the seven-mile house. There were two ten-mile houses. The one was German, the other American. Then there was another one called the eleven-mile house. But I don’t think this place ever meant much as a farmers hotel. To me it looked more like a boarding house.
On the map above, you can see as they would travel east where the eleven-mile house is located from the original settlement, and one of the ten-mile houses. I was looking for a photo on the internet for any of these houses and found a photo of it in the Down an Indian Trail Book —
The book says that this was called the William Smith Tavern and was made of log construction and was a regular stop for farmers and other traffic for generations. It was built about 1838 and moved at least twice, once for surveying of State Street sometime in the 1840s and then later in 1891 for the widening of State Street because of the Calumet Electric Street Railway construction. It was still standing at 9250 State Street until sometime in the 1960’s when it was demolished for the building of the Dan Ryan Expressway.
Thanks for reading!