The Great Sauk Trail, the most important Indian trail in the Great Lakes region was used later by French explorers, fur traders, missionaries, and soldiers. After the 1760's the trail became a major road for British and American travelers. In the early 1800's when a military road was needed to connect Detroit with Fort Dearborn (Chicago), Territorial Governor Lewis Cass and Father Gabriel Richard
, an influential legislator, were leading supporters of the Great Sauk Trail route. With federal backing the road was surveyed in 1825 and built in 1829-36. Many sections of the road were paved with huge oak logs, covered with a layer of dirt. Even before the road was improved, land-hungry settlers moved west from Detroit via the Chicago Road
(now called Michigan Avenue).