Monday, October 24, 2011

The Wigwam: Gone, But Not Quite Forgotten

Few temporary structures in U.S. history -- in this case, it stood only about seven years -- saw a more momentous event than the Wigwam, erected near the Chicago River in Chicago in 1860. The still-new Republican Party met in the building and nominated its second presidential candidate, a certain railroad attorney from Springfield.

A sizable office building now stands on the site on Wacker Drive. In 2002, the city of Chicago recognized the Wigwam site with a plaque in front of the building, easily visible from the sidewalk, though partly obscured by plants in the warm months.

Chicago Landmark

Site of the Sauganash Hotel/Wigwam

On this site stood the Sauganash Hotel, built in 1831 by pioneer Mark Beaubien, which was the location of the frontier town's first village board election in 1833. The Wigwam, an assembly hall built in 1860 (destroyed c. 1867) on the site of the hotel, was home to the 1860 Republican National Convention which nominated Abraham Lincoln as a candidate for president. Lincoln's nomination and subsequent election set in motion a series of events that ultimately led the United States into the Civil War and brought about the abolition of slavery.

No comments: