East Dundee’s History

As far back as 22,000 years ago the Pleistocene glaciers and meltwaters began to cut through the area leaving sediments and landforms that created the valley with bluffs, rolling hills, rivers, streams and lakes. For hundreds of years this entire area was covered with thick green grasses, wild flowers and tall trees. One could only imagine the beauty of standing on one of the many bluffs over the river looking down and across the valley absorbing such breathtaking views. The early indians referred to this area as the "Valley of the Foxes" and is now known today as "Fox Valley".

Near the end of the "Blackhawk Wars" the Potowattomie Indians, a branch of the Algonquin's sold this land to Illinois in 1835 and by 1840 almost all of this land had been settled upon. The first settlers actually arrived in the fall of 1834, seeing the wigwams and campfires along the river. Jesse Newman, his wife and Joseph Russell who were prospectors, built a cabin along the east bank of the river a little more than a mile south of what later became the town of Dundee. The Newmans and Russell stayed only a short time, but staked their claim and returned a year later.

In 1835 the Oatman's arrived and settled on the west side of the river, being one of the first settlers to arrive after the treaty. Historians say it was at the raising of the Oatman house there was a drawing to determine who would have the honor of naming the town. A young Scotchman name Alexander Gardiner won the honor and the town was named Dundee after his hometown in Scotland.

Thomas Deweese the son-in-law to Elder John Oatman who in 1837 platted most of East Dundee. With the Chicago - Northwestern train line running through the center of town, East Dundee produced dairy and cheese. Prior to the train line all products were moved by horse and wagon to connect with the train which was about 7 miles north and a little west of town. In 1871 the year of the "Great Chicago Fire", Haeger Brick Company, now Haeger Pottery produced bricks to help rebuild the up and coming Chicago. The Village of East Dundee was Incorporated in 1871. The feed and coal store is where Dundee Lumber was, the railway is a bicycle path, the train depot rebuilt in 1984 is the area Tourist Center.

For more information please visit:

Dundee Township Public Library
555 Barrington Road
East Dundee, IL 60118
Dundee Township Historical Society
426 Highland Avenue
West Dundee, IL 60118
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