Lake Shore Drive will now henceforth be known as Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive!
It’s happened, folks. Chicago’s beloved Lake Shore Drive has a new name. 17 miles of outer Lake Shore Drive from Hollywood Avenue to East 67th Street will now be known as Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive in honor of the first non-Indigenous settler of Chicago.
The proposal to rename Lake Shore Drive was officially passed on June 25th after the Chicago City Council council voted in favor of a rename as a way of honoring Black historical figures.
The effort to name the beloved expressway has been gaining momentum for several months now with Alderman David Moore (17th) leading the way. Back in 1993 Aldermen Toni Preckwinkle (4th) and Madeline Haithcock (2nd) pushed to rename the drive but it was rejected by then-Mayor Richard M. Daley.
In late 2019 Alderman David Moore and a group called Black Heroes Matter reintroduced the proposal and the council finally got round to voting last week.
The proposal has been continuously opposed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot who instead put forward several other ideas including honoring Chicago’s founder with a festival, renaming the Riverwalk, and expanding DuSable Park.
On Friday, June 25th it received 33-15 votes in favor of a rename that would merge the old name and the proposed new name to form the mouthful Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive. Alderman David Moore was quoted as saying “this is not about a place, this is about a drive down unity, a drive down hope” while arguing that honoring what Jean Baptiste Point DuSable did for Chicago is a way of uniting our city.
A Haitian man of African descent, Jean Baptiste Point DuSable was the first permanent non-Indigenous settler in what would become the City of Chicago and is often recognized as “the founder of Chicago”.
According to Dusableheritage.com, after marrying a woman from the Potawatomie tribe, DuSable set up a trading post on the north bank of the Chicago River at its junction with Lake Michigan and “became a powerful trader and pioneer of the Midwest, even becoming involved in the American Revolution.” Bridges, roads, schools, and more have consequently been named in his honor.
However, not only is it unclear when this will go into effect officially, but it is also unlikely Chicagoans will endorse the change from LSD anytime just as we’ve seen with the Sears Tower, Comiskey, and other iconic Chicago landmarks.
It may also be vetoed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot who has not been in support of changing the name of Lake Shore Drive due to confusion it could cause for business owners and residents based on Lake Shore Drive.
[Featured image from Shutterstock]