The history of South Chicago Heights, before the first settlers, is nearly the same as that of all other towns in this part of the country, with one Indian tribe holding the land for a time until driven out by a more powerful tribe. The last to hold the territory was the war-like Pottawatomi’s, who were responsible for the massacre of Fort Dearborn in 1812. Sauk Trail was originally a buffalo trail before the Indians came.
The first white men to use Sauk Trail were the French explorer LaSalle and his followers on their trip to the middle of what is now Illinois. Prior to the Civil War, Sauk Trail served as an important branch of the “Underground Railroad,” the undercover system for aiding fugitive slaves to reach freedom in the North.
Adam Brown Family
In the spring of 1833, Adam Brown of Elkhart, Indiana, and his family settled at the crossing of the Old Sauk Trail and the Chicago-Vincennes Road, now known as Brown’s Corners (today Walgreen’s occupies one of the corners). He was the first purchaser of land in the area. Five years later he filed a claim for 160 acres, paying the government $1.25 an acre. By then he owned 480 acres of land in what is now Bloom Township at a cost of $600. The land purchased was the area of the intersection on Vincennes Road, now Chicago Road or Dixie Highway, and the old Sauk or Sac Trail. His farm occupied all four corners which were the only crossroads of the nation.
Land Area & Incorporation
The Village of South Chicago Heights now encompasses an area of four square miles and is located in southern Cook County. It is bounded by the City of Chicago Heights on the north, The Village of Steger on the south, unincorporated land to the east and the Cook County Forest Preserve and the Village of Park Forest to the west. Estimated population as of 2017: 4,171.