"There's no Valley So Sweet" : market development in the Lower Fox Valley River Region, 1833-1852
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The research examines the development of the market economy in the region which encompasses southern DeKalb and northern LaSalle County from 1833 to 1852. The region’s history has been the domain of local history buffs' tales, or it has been relegated to a sideshow of Chicago, or a mere footnote in the state history. In large part, the complexity of the region begins with its geographic location at the confluence of the Fox and Illinois rivers. The location’s market, originally thought to have preferential economic ties to St. Louis during the pre-railroad era, was actually an economic battleground for commercial trade between Chicago and St. Louis. The rivalry between these two markets was crucial to the growth and development of the communities located in north central Illinois. The study will also demonstrate how the region was not an amalgamation of new and various economic processes but rather more of a re-introduction of the economic situation many immigrants had left in their eastern origins. The lower Fox Valley River communities and the market developed there becomes an integral story in understanding the economic growth of the Midwest.