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At the Treaty of St. Louis, on August 24,the Fox and the Sauk ceded to the United States, among other lands, a 20-by-70-mile strip of land, running southwest from the shore of Lake Michigan to the Fox River, its midline coinciding with the outlet of the Chicago River. This strip included the historic portage route, and its acquisition facilitated the later construction of the Illinois & Michigan Canal. Outside this corridor, known as the Indian Boundary Lines, the land was still owned by Indians.
On July 29, 1829, a treaty was signed at Prairie du Chien between the U.S. Government and the Chippewa, Ottawa and Potawatomi. These tribes agreed to cede five million acres of additional Indian territory. Several Chicago residents, among them Caldwell, also known as Chief Sauganash, were awarded land in compensation for their help in the negotiation. Caldwell’s land ran parallel with the river and extended to the northwest from the Indian Boundary Line along the Indian Trail - which is now known as Caldwell Avenue.
The geometry that the Indian Boundary Line and the Caldwell reservation marked on the city’s fabric is still visible in many places today, including in Sauganash where an elm that was used to survey Caldwell’s land stood at the corner of Caldwell Avenue and Rogers Avenue.
An important landmark in Chicago’s history is a commemorative plaque marking the site of the “Treaty Elm,” purportedly the site where the 1833 Treaty of Chicago was proclaimed. The elm tree that stood in this location was a local attraction until it was removed because of Dutch Elm disease in 1933.
In 1873, as Chicago suburbs developed, a new rail line was completed on the Northwest Side of Chicago. With a station on Peterson Avenue, the Mayfair cutoff connected Evanston and Jefferson Park. Now abandoned, its path is called the Weber Spur, and it will soon become another biking and hiking trail to connect neighborhoods.
Sauganash was the vision of developers Koester and Zander. The historic residential district, comprised of 160 acres, is almost exclusively single-family homes. The district’s original character and the integrity of homes built between 1926 and 1950 remain well preserved.
Architecturally, Sauganash is a blend of many distinctive styles that were popular in the pre-World War II era. In 1924, Koester and Zander commissioned 18 American architects to design 32 model homes. Each home design was entirely different. The first model homes originally sold for between $8,500 and $10,000.
Most homes are early 20th century revivals – primarily Tudors, French, Colonial, Classical, Italian Renaissance, and Spanish. Many other homes are part of early 20th century American movements such as Cape Cods and Bungalows. More avant-garde styles such as Art Deco and Art Moderne are also in Sauganash.
Cape cod Cottages appealed to Sauganash’s middle-class home buyers. Influenced by the local Arts and Crafts and Prairie School movements, the Chicago Bungalow became the dominant style of architecture for smaller family homes in the city between 1905 and 1920. The Colonial Revival style enjoyed widespread appeal in the early 20th century.
An excellent example of an Art Deco home can be found at 5928 N. Kilbourn. Built by Herman Voss, this is one of the earliest Art Deco small homes in the nation. The Sauganash Elementary School at 6028 N Kilpatrick is also in the Art Deco style.