Located in the northeastern part of the state of Illinois and a city in Cook County, the city sits on Lake Michigan and is situated just north of Chicago. The early inhabitants of the area were the Illinois and Potawatomi Indians when the French explorers passed through the area and called it Grosse Pointe. There were a series of treaties that were enacted for the Potawatomi to cede their lands in favor of the United States. In 1836, an American jeweler started a tavern at the site, and in 1850 the community was renamed to Ridgeville. When a group of businessmen from Chicago purchased the property that sits along the lakeshore for the establishment of Northwestern University, the city developed and grew around the university.
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