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Wampum Lake


Wampum Lake was created in the 1950s when soil was removed to fill portions of the nearby I-80 Tollway. In 2019, 380 acres of Wampum Lake Woods was designated as an Illinois Nature Preserve, which provides the highest level of protection for land in the state.


Excavations have revealed that this land was the home for indigenous people since at least 1100 A.D. Native American Tribes built a large village here in the early 14th century that supported nearly 2,000 people. Archaeologists have found houses, cooking areas, and burial sites, as well as outer ditches or trenches that formed part of the village’s fortifications. By the 17th century, this area was part of the traditional homelands of the Council of Three Fires – the Ojibwa, Ottawa and Potawatomi Tribes. Members of other tribes also traveled through and lived in the area as well, part of the migration of peoples through the crossroads that is the Chicago region that continues to this day.

John Hoxie acquired the property in the 1880s. Hoxie was an entrepreneur and cattleman working the Michigan Southern Railroad, which held controlling interest in the Chicago Stockyards. With plans for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Hoxie was certain the stockyards would relocate and he purchased 750 acres of land at this location. He ultimately built his country home and farm here, raising prize-winning cattle. When Hoxie died in 1896, his son Gilbert rented out the land to various farmers.

1955 Wampum.jpg

Wampum Lake 1955 before the lake was filled, courtesy of Carl Milburn

Hoxie Farm.jpg
Hoxie Site.jpg

Click to enlarge.

More information about Wampum Lake and the former Hoxie site:

The Hoxie Farm by Marcia Potter

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