Thomas Courtney Cabin/First Lutheran Church

2519 Grove Street

Built in 1863

Photographs by BIHS Executive Director Kevin Brown


Thomas Courtney was Blue Island’s first white settler, erecting a one room log cabin on this site in 1834 with his wife and small child. For more than a year the crude cabin stood alone in the wilderness. Trappers and hunters would occasionally take shelter here and Courtney made friends with the Pottawatomi still living near the Blue Island ridge.


Ater the Illinois Indian Battle at the Calumet River in 1769, the victorious Ottawa buried their dead in the hill behind the site of the present church. Years ago children in the neighborhood would scour the area looking for bones, arrowheads, flints, or any other Native American artifacts they could find.


The First Evangelical Lutheran Church, founded by German immigrants in 1861, has occupied this site since 1863. The original building, which is still intact, was added to on the north in the mid-twentieth century, and to the south a parochial school was constructed.


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