Mark Beaubien was one of the few ferry keepers in the Chicago area. He arrived in Chicago in 1826 from Detroit to visit his older brother Jean Baptiste Beaubien, a trader at Fort Dearborn. Mark and his wife Monique decided to make their home at Chicago. They bought a small cabin from James Kinzie and in 1831 built the first frame structure in Chicago, the Sauganash Hotel. The couple operated the hotel (which was far from a solitary life) for several years on the Chicago River just south of Wolf Point (the confluence of the north and south branches into the main stem). Also in 1831, Beaubien became the first ferry-keeper at Chicago. He was on call night and day to ferry travelers across the Chicago River. Later, Beaubien also served several terms as a lighthouse keeper on the Chicago River and as a toll keeper along a plank road in Du Page County.
Author: A. T. Andreas
Source: Chicago Historical Society (ICHi-37418)