Currently under development near the mouth of the Chicago River and the shore of Lake Michigan, DuSable Park honors Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable (ca. 1745-1818), the first non-Native American settler at Chicago. A Haitian of French and African descent, DuSable traveled to New Orleans in 1764. The following year he journeyed up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, where he began to trade with the local Indians and married a young Potawatomi woman. As early as 1772, DuSable moved on to Chicago, establishing a remote trading post near what is now Pioneer Court, just north of the river.
DuSable's world began to change after the Revolutionary War, when the American government claimed the Great Lakes region as its own, and settlers began arriving from the east. In 1800, DuSable sold his property at Chicago and went south to Peoria. Two centuries after DuSable's departure, Chicago is an unimaginably different place, home to nearly three million residents, with skyscrapers lining the Chicago River and the lakefront.
In the mid-1980s, developers began to improve 60 acres of under-utilized industrial land north of the river with residences and commercial structures. To provide parkland for the new City Center, the Chicago Dock and Canal Trust donated more than three acres of property east of Lake Shore Drive to the Chicago Park District.