You've been waiting to hear about San Antonio for a few days. The wait is over as this post includes midwest cities west of the Mississippi. The cities named below can be found on the map at Crasstalk.
Two of Pierre LaSalle’s men built a stockade on the Chicago River in the Winter of 1682-83. A series of wars prevented any extensive settlement by the Europeans. The French controlled the region until 1763 when France ceded the area to England. Britain subsequently ceded the region to the United States in 1783. Fort Dearborn was built in 1803 on the Chicago River at the site that is Chicago. Parts of the fort were destroyed when the Chicago River was widened in 1855 and by fire in 1857. The last of the fort was burned in the Great Chicago Fire of 1872.
St. Anthony (Minneapolis, MN)
In 1849, St. Anthony was platted as a townsite on the east side of St. Anthony Falls and was incorporated in 1855. Minneapolis was founded in 1856 on the west side of the falls. It was incorporated as a city in 1867. In 1872, Minneapolis and St. Anthony merged. Minneapolis was named by the city’s first school teacher who combined the Dakota word for water (mni) and the Greek word for city (polis).
Pig's Eye (St. Paul, MN)
The settlement was originally established at a landing that marked the furthest point up the Mississippi River that steamboats could travel. Prior to this settlement, the Dakota people called the area I-mni-za Ska Dan (little white rocks) because of the white sandstone that was visible. A one-eyed Frenchman, Pierre Parrant, established a saloon at the landing. Both the saloon and Parrant were called Pig's Eye and soon the area was known by the same moniker. Father Lucien Galtier established the Log Chapel of Saint Paul nearby. The settlers saw Saint Paul as a more appropriate name for the growing community.
Fort Raccoon (Des Moines, IA)
In 1843, Captain James Allen constructed a fort at the confluence of the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers. He wanted to name it Fort Raccoon but the War Department's choice for the name prevailed. Fort Des Moines was abandoned in 1846 when the Sauk and Meskwaki Indians were removed from Iowa. Settlers moved into the abandoned fort and then settled around the fort. In 1851 Fort Des Moines was incorporated as a city and the name shortened to Des Moines.
La Petit Roche (Little Rock, AR)
In 1722, French explorer, Bènard de LaHarpe navigated up the Arkansas River and noted two rock formations that he used as landmarks. The larger formation he termed La Grande Roche (the big rock) and the smaller, La Petit Roche (the little rock). In 1820 the location near the little rock outcropping was surveyed for the town and called Little Rock.
Cahokia (St. Louis, MO)
Pierre Laclede Liguest found a site for a trading post on a bluff above the Mississippi River in 1763. He began clearing the site in February 1764. However, by the Treaty of Paris (1763), France had ceded the lands east of the Mississippi to the English. The French in residing in the villages, Cahokia and St. Philippe, on the east bank of the river moved to the west bank near Laclede’s settlement. Laclede named his village St. Louis in honor of King Louis IX of France. Cahokia, the earliest French settlement that still exists, was founded in 1699. St. Louis is also known as the “Mound City” because of the numerous mounds that once were part of the city’s landscape. These mounds were built by the Cahokia tribe of Native Americans between 600 and 1400 CE. The Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is near Collinsville, Illinois, a short distance from St. Louis.
Westport Landing ( Kansas City, MO)
The French, the first European settlers in this area, built a fort on the Missouri River in 1723 and called it Fort D’Orléans after the Duke of Orléans. The fort was abandoned by 1726 and its precise location is not known. Lewis and Clark on their way to the Pacific in 1804 camped at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers near an area of Kansas City known as Quality Hill and suggested it as a site for a fort. In 1808 Fort Osage was built, not at Quality Hill, but twenty miles above the confluence of the two rivers. Although Missouri was part of the United States at this time, the region around Kansas City was settled by the French. In 1821, François Gesseau Chouteau established a permanent trading post and called it the village of Kansa. Gradually farmers began to settle in the area. Settlers seem to have a preference to being near the river or in the hills. In 1833, John Calvin McCoy opened a trading post in the hills south of the river and called it West Port. He also built a landing on the river that he named Westport Landing. It supplied his trading post at West Port, the last place to get supplies before heading to the west. McCoy, Chouteau and merchants formed the Town of Kansas Company and purchased Gabriel Prudhomme’s farm that bordered Westport Landing. They considered calling their town Port Fonda, Rabbitville or Possum Trot. The Town of Kansas City was incorporated in 1850. The City of Kansas was incorporated in 1853. In 1889, West Port was incorporated into the City of Kansas and the city’s name changed to Kansas City.
Centralia (Fargo, ND)
The village of Centralia was founded on the Red River in 1871. It began to flourish after the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1872. When the city was incorporated in 1875, it was renamed Fargo in honor of William Fargo, founder of Wells Fargo Express Company and director of the Northern Pacific Railway.
Hay Camp (Rapid City, SD)
The discovery of gold in the Black Hills in 1874 induced a large influx of people looking for gold to camp in the area. The camp on the Rapid Creek was called Hay Camp. By 1876 a group of disenchant miners founded a village at the camp promoting it as the “Gateway to the Black Hills.” When, in 1882, the village was incorporated as a city, the name was changed to Rapid City for the Rapid Creek that flows through it.
Cutler's Park (Omaha, NE)
August 1846, this area became the headquarter camp of 2500 Mormons who were headed to the Rocky Mountains. It was named in honor of Alpheus Cutler who founded the site. The Mormons hoped to stay at the camp for one to two years, but the Mormon leaders were not able to resolve a dispute between the Omaha and Oto Indians and were forced to move their camp to another location a few miles away. They called this camp Winter Quarters. Two years later the group moved west. The town of Florence was built on the site using whatever was left by the Mormons. Florence is one of the oldest cities in Nebraska having been platted in 1854 and incorporated on March 10, 1857. In 1917 the town was annexed by the City of Omaha.
Lancaster (Lincoln, NE)
Founded in 1856, the village of Lancaster became the county seat in 1859 of the newly created Lancaster County. The capital of the Nebraska Territory was Omaha but the more heavily populated area south of the Platte River was considering annexing to Kansas to the south. The territorial legislature voted to move the capital to the south and west of Omaha and the village of Lancaster was selected. Those who wanted Omaha to remain the capital tried to have Lancaster named after the recently assassinated president, Abraham Lincoln. They had hoped that the residence in the southern part of the territory who largely supported the Confederacy would be opposed to the capital being in Lincoln.
Waterloo (Austin, TX)
Anglo Americans began settling in the area of Austin in 1835. Village of Waterloo was founded in 1837 on the Colorado River. Edward Burleson laid out a town in 1838. Mirabeau B. Lamar, the vice-president of the Republic of Texas visited Waterloo and decided that it should be the capital of the republic. Although some, like Sam Houston, opposed the site, Lamar prevailed and the republic purchased several hundred acres of land in and around Waterloo to establish the capital. In honor of Stephen F. Austin, in 1839, Waterloo was renamed Austin.
Franklin (El Paso, TX)
Spanish explorers who first came to this region of Texas from Mexico in the 17th called the area between two mountain ranges El Paso del Norte (pass of the north). Benjamin Franklin Coons purchased a rancho in the area from Juan María Ponce de León. Coons leased some buildings on six acres of the rancho to the US Government as a military post. He then established a hotel, store, warehouse, and tavern near the post in hopes that the presence of the military would attract settlers to his property. The settlement established in 1849 was called Franklin. The name was changed in 1873 when El Paso was incorporated.
Yanaguana (San Antonio, TX)
Yanaguana was the Native American name for the area where San Antonio sits today. Spanish explorers and missionaries arrived at Yanaguana on June 13, 1691. As this was the day of the Feast Day of St. Anthony of Padova, Italy, they named the area San Antonio in honor of St. Anthony.
Tomorrow, I will post information about the remaining fourteen cities found on the map.
To Be Continued...