Jacques Marquette-Louis Jolliet Memorial

At the head of this large, multi-figure group French explorer and missionary Pere Marquette strides forward holding a Christian cross and looking straight ahead as if envisioning the historical consequences of his actions. To his left and slightly behind is cartographer, Louis Jolliet, holding several scrolled maps, also looking ahead. On Marquette’s right is the stooped figure of an American Indian, looking up at Marquette as if subservient or unenlightened.
Photo ©: Jyoti Srivastava


Jacques Marquette-Louis Jolliet Memorial




Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947)


Marshall and 24th Blvd


As the first Europeans to explore and document the northern portion of the Mississippi, which included the river link from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi basin through what would become Chicago, French missionary Jacques Marquette and the Quebec-born cartographer Louis Jolliet, along with their Indian guides, are ubiquitous figures in the modern iconography of the founding of Chicago. This imposing representation of Marquette and Joliet, with a subservient American Indian at their side, was created by Hermon Atkins McNeil, the academically trained sculptor who contributed the relief sculptures of Marquette's life to the extraordinary decorative cycle at the Marquette Building in thirty years earlier, in 1895. Other representations of Marquette include the commemorative plaques near the site of the Damen Avenue Bridge (1930) and at the DuSable Bridge (1925), as well as on the northeast DuSable Bridge pylon (1928).