Village of Bourbonnais (Bourbonnais, IL.)

The Bourbonnais Grove settlement was only two years old in 1837 when the log schoolhouse was built. French-Canadian fur trader Noel LeVasseur had established his trading post in the settlement in 1835, serving as a meeting and focal point for the new community. A few other French-Canadian families served as the core of the settlement at that time. By 1847, there were 77 French-Canadian families residing in Bourbonnais Grove. That year the future first mayor of Bourbonnais, George Letourneau had also arrived in the settlement.

In 1837, LeVasseur traveled to his native Quebec Province to recruit more French-Canadians to Bourbonnais Grove. Due to political, economic, religious, and agricultural problems at home, many of the Quebecois welcomed his words and made the journey to northeastern Illinois to what would become part of the French-Canadian Heritage Corridor. French culture was prevalent, and French was the primary language in the corridor until the 1960s. The Log Schoolhouse, once rebuilt, will attest to the historic French presence there.

Project

to rebuild Kankakee River Valley’s First Log Schoolhouse (1837-48) to be located on the Adrien M. Richard Heritage Preserve west of Letourneau Home/Museum in Bourbonnais. This area’s first one-room log schoolhouse was demolished in 2011 but 60% of the original logs were removed and stored and will be used for this project.

Amount Awarded

$16,000

Grant Sponsor

FHS Chapters

Year

2022