Beaubien Family and Chicago History

The Beaubien family and Chicago History

Like most long-time Chicagoans I know the names of many streets, schools and parks; but seldom are we aware of the people and events from which the names derive. Chicago history is built layer by layer, comprised of countless stories over hundreds of years. Some of the most well-known are accounts are of tales of the rich, powerful and famous; but the complete history of Chicago is one created by the contributions, big and small, from every community. Our city’s past is lurking in plain sight, often all one needs to do is to learn the story behind the names of the places we interact with each day.

Today, a customer of ours shared with us information about his family history and its ties to the area predating Chicago being incorporated as a city in 1837. His ancestor, Jean-Baptiste Beaubien was married and living in, what was to be, Chicago by 1804. In 1813 he purchased a 60-acre parcel of land described as running from the Chicago River on the north, Madison to the south, State Street on the west, with the lake creating the eastern boundary. (I have not independently verified this data; but if true, it staggers the imagination to contemplate what the value of that land would be today).

What is clear are the multiple sites that still bear his name, including a street named Beaubien Court, Beaubien School (a CPS elementary school on north side), and Beaubien Woods (a forest preserve). Our customer, Mark Beaubien has also provided a link to this short video.

We are always interested in the family stories of our customers, and welcome others to contribute.
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