Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
  • Home
  • Trailheads
  • Downloads
  • Privacy Policy
  • Return to Portal
  • 404 Lawton's Riverside Trading Post

    Lawton's Riverside Trading Post along Des Plains River similar to image of Chicago's first post office, 1833

    And at midnight..."the hour, seen by the light of the coach lamp, proved to be twelve, and each settled in his corner for another doze. A sudden halt of the stage awakened us. The coachman took down a lamp and began to search for something on the ground. 'Halo, driver, what have you lost?' asked the youth. 'Only my road sir,' he replied. 'Lost your road!' exclaimed the youth in dismay; 'Lost in these lonely moors among wolverines and jack-o'lanterns! Here's a pretty fix!' 'Driver you ought to keep the skin off your eyes in such a dark night, I guess,' said the other passenger. I only wondered he could ever keep his road, as there was no house or tree to mark his course."

    After regaining the trace of the road, the stagecoach arrived sometime after 2 am at Lawton’s Riverside Trading Post on the ford of the Des Plaines River, near modern Ogden and Joliet Avenues on the Riverside/Lyons border.

    1851 James Reese Land Ownership Map, Library of Congress.

    "A few hours after this, a huge body suddenly appeared before the window--it turned out to be a tree, a sign we were approaching a river. Soon after we found ourselves before the door of a small house, on the banks of a narrow but deep and placid stream fringed with trees. This was the Des Plaines, a river which rises so near lake Michigan, that in times of its overflow, boats have passed from one to another. We awakened the drowsy owner of the house, procured some refreshment, and with fresh horses resumed our journey."

    Today the road from Chicago to Lawton’s in Riverside exists only partially as 5th Ave. in Chicago, Riverside Dr. in Berwyn and Longcommon Ave. and Barry Point Rd. in Riverside.

    --They lose road on the wet prairie ~ 12:00 midnight.

    --Arrive Lawton’s “a few hours after this” (no earlier than 2 am)

    --Change horses* (~45 min). Depart Lawton's ~3 am.