By Audrey L. Muschler

For 10,000 years, before the coming of the French and Spanish explorers, Indian cultures lived within the present day boundary of the Village of Oak Brook. Their presence here is demonstrated by the finding of their beautifully chipped projectile points.

In April 1974, the Oak Brook Village Board contracted for an Archeological Surface Survey of the undeveloped land in the village. A walking survey was conducted in May 1974 by a staff member of the Foundation for Illinois Archaeology, Dr. Stuart Struever, Northwestern University. He prepared a report and an analysis of his findings. Residents who had found or collected artifacts in the village were interviewed, artifacts were photographed and identified, prehistoric sites were located and an analysis and recommendation was compiled.

Dr. Struever notes in the report, "Indian cultures were present in the Oak Brook area from at least the Early Archaic period (8,000 to 5,000 B.C.) through the period of pioneer settlement in the early 1800's..Most of the artifacts that have been collected by individual laymen and by the 1974 archeological survey are projectile points, scrapers and knives---all tools associated with hunting and butchering. It appears that the mixed forest-prairie area of northeastern Illinois abounded in game, particularly the white-tailed deer and the American elk. The area had a much lower potential for the gathering of wild plant foods and for fishing. There was also very little potential for hoe agriculture. We may tentatively suggest that the primary occupation of this area was by hunting bands which camped at favorable places for a short period while they sought, killed and processed local game."

Two prehistoric sites were located by the walking survey: Oak Brook Site No. 1 south of 35th Street (the Hawthorn Realty property at the time), and Oak Brook Site #2 near the Graue Mill on the Oak Brook-Hinsdale border (the Collin property at the time).

The prehistoric No. l camp site is of the Archaic period probably dating in the range of 2,500 to 3,000 B.C. The No. 2 camp site is of the Early or Middle Archaic periods dating from 8,000 to 3,000 B.C.

The third known prehistoric site was formerly the Harger Farm located south of Harger Road and north of 22nd Street. This area is now the location of various corporations. Mrs. Edward Epcke's ( nee Marie Harger) collection consisted of about 30 artifacts dating from the Late Archaic period 3,000 B.C. to the Mississippian period A.D. 900.

Artifacts found by the Sluma family on Spring Road north of the Collin property date to the Late Archaic period 3,000 to 500 B.C. and Early Woodland period 500 to 100 B.C. Joseph Rush, a former Oak Brook Village Trustee, found a projectile point and a flint drill (3,000 to 500 B.C.) on his property north of the Bluma property. These findings suggest that the Oak Brook Site No. 2 may actually extend northward in that area.

Additional artifacts found in other locations within the Village include: two grooved sandstone abraders, three projectile points and a notched spearhead dating about 3,000 to 4,000 B.C. and a Tamms points dating from 750 to 400 A.D., a projectile point of the Archaic period, a single grooved axe dating 3,000 to 500 B.C. and several projectile points along a tributary to Salt Creek near the Fullersburg Forest Preserve dating to 3,000 B.C.

Dr. Struever points out. "Perhaps the most significant unknown aspect of the Oak Brook archeological survey concerns the extensive area encompassed within three country clubs (York, Butterfield and Midwest) and the Butler International Sports Core. In all four areas much of the original land surface remains intact, through landscaping activities have superficially altered the ground surface in specific localities. All three country clubs and the Sports Core are now covered with grass intermingled with small areas of forest. Potential archeological sites exist in all four areas but cannot be located at present due to the vegetation cover."

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