Dixie Highway, The
The Dixie Highway was the first national road linking industrial northern states to agricultural southern states. Governors of several states met in 1915 to consider an improved road to Miami. States lobbied for inclusion, resulting in eastern and western divisions running through ten states. In Illinois, the road started in Chicago, traveled through Blue Island, Homewood, and Chicago Heights, then followed what is today Route 1 down to Danville. There it turned east to Indiana. By 1923, the Dixie Highway consisted of a network of 6,000 improved roadway miles.
The Dixie Highway Association took over the work begun by the governors. Many counties funded and built the highway in their area; poorer counties required federal aid and private subscriptions. Citizens took paintbrushes in hand to paint "DH" in red and white on poles, marking the way for travelers. Gas stations and mechanics were sparse. Motorists carried extra gas and tools. Tourists packed tents or rented rooms. Soon tourists camps, cabins, roadside diners, and service garages sprouted. The route played a significant role in both world wars as a path for carrying supplies.
The Dixie Highway follows one of the oldest and most historical trails. Native Americans and trapper-traders used a path worn by animals along the eastern Illinois border. In the 1820s, Gurdon Saltenstall Hubbard established trading posts along the route, which is identified as Hubbard's Trace and Vincennes Trail on old maps. In 1835, the Illinois General Assembly ordered a state road to be established and mile markers to be placed theron.
Eastland Disaster, The
While still partially tied to its dock at the river's edge, the excursion steamer Eastland rolled over on the morning of July 24, 1915. The result was one of the worst maritime disasters in American history. More than eight hundred people lost their lives within a few feet of the shore. The Eastland was filled to overflowing with picnic bound Western Electric Company employees and their families when the tragedy occurred. Investigations following the disaster raised questions about the ship's seaworthiness and inspection of Great Lakes steamers in general.
John H. Humphrey Home
This house was the home of Illinois State Senator John H. Humphrey (1838-1914). Born in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England, Humphrey immigrated to America with his parents in 1848 and settled in Orland Township, Cook County, Illinois. Humphrey became active in local politics and served as Orland Township Supervisor, Village Treasurer, and later as Orland Park's first president (Mayor). Elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1880 and in 1884, he advanced to the Illinois Senate in 1886, serving until 1910. This house, second oldest in Orland Park, was built in 1881. Donated to the Orland Historical Society in 1987, it was placed on the National Register in 2005.Sponsored by the Orland Historical Society and the Illinois State Historical Society
Origins of Calumet City and Abraham Lincoln Funeral Train
Two blocks north of this corner the funeral train of Abraham Lincoln entered Illinois at approximately 10:15 a.m. on May 1, 1865, on the Michigan Central Railroad right-of-way.
In the autumn of 1869, the founders of the state slaughter house walked east along the railroad tracks and they searched for a suitable site to establish their business. The property they chose was north of the tracks on the east side of the Illinois-Indiana border. The company shipped its first load of dressed, refrigerated beef out of Hammond in October.
Within a few years, some of the land south of the tracks on the Illinois side, once owned by Stephen A. Douglas, an attorney for the Michigan Central and a political colleague of Lincoln, became home to many employees of the packing plant. By 1891, the plant was known as G.H. Hammond and Company and employed approximately 1,000 men and women, many of whom lived in the neighborhoods on or just off State Street, including Freitag's Subdivision, which had been created in 1879 in the vicinity of Lincoln Avenue and State Street. Freitag's Subdivision and the residential neighborhoods on Douglas, Ingraham, Forsythe, and Plummer Avenues and the commercial establishments along State Street were incorporated as the village of West Hammond, Illinois, in 1893 and became known as Calumet City in 1924.
West Side Grounds: Home Field of the Chicago National League Ball Club from 1893 to 1915
First Game: May 14 1893 (Cincinnati 13, Chicago 12)
Last Game: October 3, 1915 (Chicago 7, St. Louis 2)
Seating Capacity: 16,000
Career Record at West Side Grounds: 1,018 Wins, 640 Losses
World Series Championships: 1907, 1908
National League Championships: 1906, 1907, 1908, 1910
In 1891 the Chicago Ball Club purchased this site and built a ballpark for $30,000. Bordered by Polk, Lincoln (Wolcott), Taylor, and Wood Street, the ballpark had a covered grandstand of steel and wood, open-air seating along both foul lines, and an upper deck with box seats.
In 1906 the Chicago Cubs at West Side Grounds won a major league record 116 games and the ballpark hosted the first intra-city World Series game between the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. In 1907 and 1908 the Chicago Cubs became the first team to win consecutive World Series titles. The ballpark hosted its last World Series in 1910 between the Cubs and the Philadelphia Athletics.
The Chicago Cubs moved to Weeghman Park (Wrigley Field) in 1916. West Side Grounds was sold in 1919 for $40,000 to the State of Illinois for a research and educational hospital from which grew the nation's largest medical district.
The phrase "Way out in left field" originated at the West Side Grounds, due to the location of a psychiatric hospital behind the ballpark's left field fence, where players and fans could hear patients making odd and strange remarks during games.
Auntie Gogin's Store
On this block Mary Ann (Elwell) Gogin operated a general merchandise store in the late nineteenth century. One of the first women in Illinois to own and manage her own store, Mrs. Gogin was affectionately known as 'Auntie' to the residents of Palestine.
Here stood the Dubois Tavern. Jesse K. Dubois, a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, was an official in the United States Land Office in Palestine from 1841-1842 and from 1849-1853 and later became Auditor of Public Accounts for Illinois. His son, Fred T. Dubois, became a Senator from Idaho.
About 1813 the William Eaton family and other restless pioneers considered Fort LaMotte too crowded and therefore constructed a new stockade on a site several hundred yards north of here. A family trait of the Eatons, large feet, led to the name of Fort Foot.
Steamboats on the Mississippi River
In 1817 the Zebulon M. Pike reached St. Louis, the northern-most steamboat port on the Mississippi
Governor Augustus C. French
On this site stood the home of Augustus C. French (1808-1864) when he was elected the ninth Governor of Illinois. The early settlers in Illinois came mostly from southern states so that French, a native of New Hampshire, was the first "Yankee" to be elected Governor.
Two early residents of Palestine, John Houston and Francis Dickson, purchased this lot as the site for a combination dwelling and store about 1818. By 1820 their stock of merchandise provided nearby settlers with goods which they previously had to bring from Indiana.
Hutsonville was named after the Isaac Hutson family massacred by Indians in 1813 at a spot sixty-four rods due east of this marker. Hutson was killed later in a skirmish with the Indians near Fort Harrison, Indiana.
Kitchell Grist Mill
In this area Joseph Kitchell, who settled here in 1817, erected a grist mill and distillery which eliminated the trip to Shakertown, Indiana where the farmers had previously taken their grain. Horses were used for power, grain was taken in pay, converted to whiskey and sold to settlers.
This area reminded Frenchman John LaMotte of the land of milk and honey, Palestine. While a member of the LaSalle exploring party, he became separated from the group, traveled down the Wabash River, and first gazed upon the region in 1678. Other French settlers came during the 18th century. Then, by 1812, the westward moving Americans began constructing Fort LaMotte. As the palisade filled with settlers, those desiring more room moved a few miles to the northwest and established Fort Foot.
The settlers in Fort LaMotte were the core of the town of Palestine. Platted in 1818 by Joseph Kitchell and Edward Cullom, the settlement served until 1843 as the Crawford County seat. The growth of the town lagged until a United States Land Office, opened in 1821, gave new importance to the community. Then, people came to buy land, to attend court, for entertainment, and to have their grain milled. Others, like Abraham Lincoln in 1830, passed through the bustling town on their way to settle in Illinois.
The land office continued to give prominence to Palestine. Robert A. Kinzie came in 1831 to purchase 102 acres for $127.68, an area which became the nucleus of Chicago. Augustus C. French (1808-1864) served as a Receiver in the Land Office from 1839 to 1843. A native of New Hampshire, he was the first 'Yankee' to be elected Governor of Illinois. Chosen in 1846, French was forced to stand for re-election under the new constitution of 1848 and won.
John Mitchell, 1870-1919
Pioneer resident of Spring Valley. Achieved national prominence in the settlement of the Pennsylvan
Barbed Wire Manufacturing 1837-1938
This house, built in 1861, was the home of Joseph Glidden, who in 1873 invented barbed wire fencing. With Phineas W. Vaughn he perfected a machine to manufacture it. DeKalb was the home of
Isaac L. Ellwood and Jacob Haish, also manufacturers of barbed wire. Haish developed the S-barb. DeKalb became the manufacturing center for barbed wire, significant in the development of the west.
Lincoln Highway Seedling Mile
The Lincoln Highway was the first transcontinental, hard surface roadway in the United States. The Highway traversed 3,384 miles and twelve states - beginning in New York City and ending in San Francisco. Planned in 1913 by the Lincoln Highway Association, this roadway predated the Federal Highway System and later came under the jurisdiction of the State Highway Commissions along the route. The project was completed fourteen months after it began. The project began with a series of four 'seedling miles'--the first of which passed this site. Here, a one-mile section ten feet wide was paved with concrete in October 1914. The Malta 'seedling mile,' a former dirt and gravel road, became one of the first experiments in the use of concrete for the development of a better road surface. Due to the experimental nature of concrete and subsequent resistance of public highway officials at that time, completion of the Highway resulted from private enterprise and strong, local sponsorship for which the DeKalb County sponsors provided the model. The durability of this new building material was proven by the fact that the original surface was still in use some twenty years after the road way was first opened.
In the early 1800's Shabbona was a principal chief of the Ottawa, Potawatomi, and Chippewa group of tribes which banded together to form 'The Three Fires.' Shabbona camped briefly in a large grove one-half mile south of here. He fought with the British in the War of 1812 and later helped the settlers of northern Illinois by warning of Indian uprisings during the Winnebago outbreak. In the Black Hawk War, Shabbona alerted pioneers to impending Indian raids and offered to lead an attack against the Sauk and Fox Tribes.
Army Trail Road
This road followed an Indian trail that began in Chicago and went through DuPage, Kane, DeKalb, Boone, and Winnebago Counties to a Winnebago village at Beloit, Wisconsin. In August, 1832, during the Black Hawk War, United States Army reinforcements from the eastern department followed the trail. Their General, Winfield Scott, left Chicago ahead of the troops and took a different route to the war area.Delayed by cholera, his men did not reach the front until after the Black Hawk's defeat. The tracks left by heavy army wagons formed a road for early settlers.
Abraham Lincoln spoke in the oak grove of General William Pickering north of here in the presidential campaign of 1840.
He was stumping southern Illinois as a Whig elector for General William Henry Harrison in the Tippecanoe and Tyler Too campaign.
In 1861 Lincoln appointed Pickering Governor of Washington Territory.
Mount Carroll Seminary was founded as a coeducational institution in 1853 by Frances Ann Wood (late
Illinois Central Railroad, The
On September 27, 1856, near this site, workmen drove the spike which completed the 705 miles of the Illinois Central Railroad's charter lines and the first federal land grant railroad in the United States. In 1850 Congress had granted the alternate sections of public land within six miles on either side of the railroad between specific sites to the State of Illinois. The following year the state issued a charter to the Illinois Central which outlined the route from the southern end of the Illinois and Michigan Canal (LaSalle) to Cairo with branches to Chicago and, through Galena, to the banks of the Mississippi River. As construction advanced the Illinois Central received about 2,595,000 acres. The Illinois Central developed the surrounding territory to assure an increased business. They conducted an intensive publicity campaign by sending pamphlets and agents to the eastern states, Canada, England, Germany, Norway and Sweden to encourage immigration to Illinois. The company sold its fertile prairie land on liberal credit terms and settlers moved to the previously undeveloped region along the Centralia Chicago branch. In later years, the Illinois Central encouraged the development of a variety of crops such as sorghum, sugar beets, cotton, fruits, vegetables and soybeans; the improvement of livestock; the use of farm machinery; and the development of industry and coal mining. For sixteen years the Illinois Central was exclusively an Illinois railroad; then it began to expand into other states.
Blackwell's White House
Colonel Robert Blackwell's new two-story frame store and boardinghouse opened on this site in time for the convening of the Ninth General Assembly on December 1, 1834. He advertised board and lodging for 'thirty or forty.'
Vandalia was the western terminus of the Cumberland or National Road which extended eighty feet wide for 591 miles from Cumberland, Maryland through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. Illinois construction by the Federal Government began in 1811 and ceased in 1838, the approximate cost being seven million dollars.
First State Capitol, 1820-1823
The first capitol building owned by the State was erected on this site. It was a thirty by forty feet two-story frame structure. The Second and Third Illinois General Assemblies met here, the House on the first floor and the Senate on the second. This building was destroyed by fire on December 9, 1823.
In 1836 Colonel Abner Flack took over the large three-story frame building which stood here, and operated it under the name Vandalia Inn. In 1853-1854 it was the headquarters for Chief Engineer Charles F. Jones, in charge of construction of the Illinois Central Railroad.
Fort Handy, built in 1816, was located 1200 feet southeast of this park on a knoll. The fort, the o
Indian Creek Massacre (New)
On May 21, 1832, Potawatomi Indians, angered over the damming of Indian Creek by local settlers, attacked and murdered fifteen men, women, and children of the Indian Creek Settlement, located on this site. Two of the girls, Rachel (15) and Sylvia (19) Hall, were taken hostage for eleven days and later ransomed. The Potawatomi chieftain Shabbona, warned settlers of an impending attack but his appeals were ignored. For his role in trying to warn the settlers, Shabbona was thereafter called “The White Man’s Friend,” and given title to a track of land now known as Shabbona Grove. The massacre at Indian Creek happened at the same time as Black Hawk and 1,000 Sauk and Fox tribesmen, women, and children returned to Illinois, provoking the Black Hawk War and leading to atrocities on both sides. Rachel and Sylvia Hall, who were taken to Black Hawk’s camp, survived captivity and lived to old age, their lives spared by two members of the Sauk and Fox tribe. Shabbona, an invited guest to the Lincoln-Douglas debate in Ottawa in August 1858, died the following year and is buried in Morris, Illinois.
Home of John A. and Mary Logan, 1856-1861
John A. Logan 1826-1886, U.S. Representative 1859-1862, 1867-1871; Civil War General, 1861-1865; U.S. Senator, 1871-1877, 1879-1886; Vice presidential Candidate with James Blaine 1884. He established Memorial Day as a National holiday on 1868. John A. Logan and Mary Cunningham were married in Shawneetown on November 27, 1855, and then moved to Benton where John practiced law. They lived in a small frame house on this site. Mary moved to Carbondale in 1861 where she remained during the Civil War.
For more than fifty years Westfield College was located on this site. It was founded as a seminary
Jonathon Boone, an older brother of the famous Pathfinder Daniel Boone, built a mill on this site about 1800. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1730 and died here about 1808. His son Joseph continued to operate the mill. In 1813 Joseph was named to mark out a road from Burnt Prairie to Shawneetown by way of his mill. On August 24, 1814, he purchased the millsite from the Federal Land Office at Shawneetown. The mill was used as a landmark by the State Legislature in describing the boundary line separating White from Gallatin County. Joseph sold the land in 1818. He died in Mississippi in 1827.
General Michael K. Lawler
Born in Ireland in 1814, Michael K. Lawler came here to Gallatin County in 1819. After serving as a captain in the Mexican War, he lived on his farm near here until the outbreak of the Civil War. In May 1861 he recruited the 18th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment, of which he became a Colonel. Lawler was wounded during the siege of Fort Donelson. In November 1862 he was commissioned Brigadier General, and he fought gallantly in the Campaign of Vicksburg in 1863. He became a Major General in 1865, returning home the next year. He died in 1882.
James Harrison Wilson
James H. Wilson, American Army Officer, Engineer, and Author, was born in 1837 on his family's farm about a mile south of here. He attended Shawneetown schools, McKendree College, and the United States Military Academy. In the spring of 1864, during the Civil War, he commanded Sheridan's Third Cavalry Division. In the spring of 1865, as Brevet Major General, Chief of the Cavalry, Military Division of Mississippi, Wilson led a month-long mounted campaign through Alabama, capping his exploits by surmounting the fortifications at Selma. Detachments under his command captured Jefferson Davis. Wilson also served in the Spanish-American War and the Boxer Rebellion. He died in 1925.
This was the original site of the home of John Marshall, one of the founders and president of the Bank of Illinois, the first bank chartered by the Illinois Legislature. The charter was issued in 1816. The bank opened at Shawneetown in 1817, suspended operations in the mid-1820's and reopened from 1834 to 1842. Marshall was active in business and politics. In 1818 he was elected a legislature from Gallatin County to the first Illinois General Assembly. He died in 1858.
Old Salt Works
One mile south was located one of the oldest salt works west of the Alleghenies. Here Indians and French made salt, while at a later day Americans established a commercial salt industry which finally attained a production of 500 bushels a day.
One of Shawneetown's earliest brick buildings, Rawlings' Hotel, stood on this lot. It was built in 1821-1822 for Moses Rawlings, who owned it until 1841. On May 7, 1825, it was the site of a reception held for the Marquis de Lafayette during his visit to America, 1824-1825. Accompanied by Illinois' Governor Edward Coles and other dignitaries, Lafayette walked between two long lines of people from the river's edge to the hotel. The building was one of eleven destroyed by fire, June 23, 1904.
Shawneetown, Illinois (missing)
Ancient mounds rise above the low ground of Gallatin County in several places to testify to a prehistoric life here. The northern section of Shawneetown rests on ancient burial mounds. For a short time in the mid-eighteenth century the Shawnee Indians had a village here. The first settler arrived about 1800 and others soon followed. The federal government laid out Shawneetown in 1810, before the surrounding area was surveyed. The town grew as the trading post and the shipping point for salt from the United States Salines near Equality and as a major point of entry for emigrants from the east. In 1814 the United States Land Office for South-eastern Illinois opened at Shawneetown. Two state memorials - in Shawneetown - the first bank in the territory (1816) and the imposing state bank building (1839), mark the community's early prominence as the financial center of Illinois. According to legend several Chicagoans applied for a loan in 1830 to improve their village but were turned away because Chicago was too far from Shawneetown to ever amount to anything. The Ohio River which contributed to the early importance of the town was always a threat to its existence. In 1937 the angry yellow waters rushed over the levees and rose in the town until they lapped the second floor of the State Bank building. It was then that most of the residents moved northwest to the hills and rebuilt Shawneetown, although some still clung to the original site.
On September 18, 1858, the fourth of the famous joint debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A
Thomas Carlin, sixth elected Governor of Illinois (1838-1842), was an early settler of Illinois and a prominent figure in organizing Greene County and establishing Carrollton as its county seat in 1821.
Born in Kentucky in 1789, Carlin came to the Illinois Territory and served in the War of 1812. He settled on farm land, part of which is now Carrollton.
He served as the county's first sheriff (1821), as a captain in the Black Hawk Militia (1832), as a state senator (1825-1833), and as a land office receiver (1834).
He died in 1852 and is buried in Carrollton City Cemetery.
Diamond Mine Disaster, The
The Diamond Mine of the Wilmington Coal Mining and Manufacturing Company, located near Braidwood on the Grundy-Will County line, was the site of a major mine disaster in Illinois.
The mine was on a marshy tract of land that had no natural drainage. At midday of February 16, 1883, the east side of the mine collapsed from the weight of melting snow, ice, and heavy rains. An alarm was sounded, and miners who were near the escapement shaft hurried to the surface. The main passage to the shaft flooded rapidly, and the weight of the water sealed the ventilation doors in the tunnels. Escape became impossible, and rescue attempts were futile.
Other mines in the area suspended operations, and their workers helped build a dam on the site. For thirty-eight days seven steam pumps removed water from the mine. Volunteers descended the shaft on March 25, and the first bodies were recovered on March 26. The recovery effort was hampered by accumulations of debris and gas as well as by falling rock. Several days later the mine was sealed with the remaining forty-six bodies entombed.
Numerous men and boys died in the disaster; two were thirteen years of age, and two were fourteen. Contributions for families of the victims were received from across the United States and totaled more than $42,000, including $10,000 appropriated by the Illinois General Assembly. In 1898 the United Mine Workers of America placed a monument at the site.
Hancock County, established in 1829, had no permanent county seat for four years. On February 13, 1833, the General Assembly commissioned William Gilham, Scott Riggs and John Hardin to establish a permanent county seat, which was named Carthage and was incorporated in 1837.
Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, and his brother Hyrum were shot to death in the Old Carthage Jail on June 27, 1844. Joseph had chosen Nauvoo as headquarters for the Church in 1839, and by 1844 Hancock County was a Mormon Center. However, unrest concerning the authority of the Mormon leaders was extensive. When an anti-Mormon newspaper in Nauvoo was destroyed, Joseph and Hyrum were jailed at Carthage to await trial. Governor Thomas Ford assigned the Carthage Grays, a militia unit, to guard them. A mob overpowered the guards and rushed the captives who with two Mormon friends, Willard Richards and John Taylor, occupied an unlocked, second floor room in the jail.
Hyrum was killed and the Prophet was shot several times before he fell from a window to the ground. Taylor, later the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1877-1887), recovered from his wounds while Richards was uninjured. Conflict between Mormons and their neighbors continued until the Mormons completed their exodus from Illinois (1846). The Mormons have restored the Old Carthage Jail.
During the 1858 U. S. Senatorial campaign Stephen A. Douglas spoke at Carthage on October 11 and Abraham Lincoln spoke on October 22.
Icarian Community in Nauvoo
A communal society of French Icarians was established at Nauvoo on 1849. Led by Etienne Cabet, a French political theorist, the Icarians believed that all property must be held communally. The community was incorporated by the Illinois General Assembly in early 1851. At that time it had 355 members. They operated their own sawmill and grist mill and a commercial distillery. Disputes later arose over Cabet's leadership, and the Icarians began to resettle in other states. The Nauvoo community survived, however, until about 1860 - longer than any other secular communal society in Illinois.
Nauvoo was once the site of a Sauk and Fox Village. After the Indians moved west of the Mississippi, promoters attempted to develop town sites here but the marshy bottom lands attracted few settlers.
In 1839, the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith chose the town, then called Commerce, as the home for his followers, who had been driven from Missouri. The Mormons named the community Nauvoo, said to mean 'beautiful place,' and obtained a special charter from the Illinois legislature, which gave the city government its own courts, militia, university, and all other governmental powers not prohibited by the federal and state constitutions.
Mormon converts from all parts of America and Europe soon swelled the population to about 15,000 making Nauvoo one of the largest cities in Illinois by 1845. But some of the Mormons as well as their gentile neighbors began to resent the civil and religious authority of the Mormon leaders, and frictions in the area grew severe. When the Nauvoo City Council had an anti-Mormon newspaper destroyed, the Mormon leaders were arrested and jailed at Carthage. There, on June 27, 1844, an armed mob shot and killed Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum. Conflict between the Mormons and their neighbors continued until 1846 when the Mormons completed their exodus from the state.
In 1849, Etienne Cabet's followers, the Icarians, came to Nauvoo to practice their form of religious communism but dissensions soon weakened the colony. Their experiment lasted less than ten years.
Bertha Van Hoosen, M.D.
At this site on November 18, 1915, was founded the American Medical Women's Association, dedicated
Welcome to Illinois
In 1673 the areas of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers were explored by Frenchmen Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette. Their voyages resulted in French claims on the area until 1763 when, by the Treaty of Paris, France ceded the land to Great Britain. During the American Revolution the Illinois Territory was won for the Commonwealth of Virginia by George Rogers Clark and his army. In 1784 it became part of the Northwest Territory and on December 3, 1818 Illinois entered the Union as the twenty-first state.
U.S. Route 136 enters Illinois at Hamilton, north of Warsaw, the site of Fort Edwards erected during the War of 1812 to counter British influence at Rock Island. It proceeds east through Carthage where, in 1844, the jailed Mormon leader Joseph Smith was killed defending himself from an angry mob. The highway crosses the Illinois River at Havana and runs east passing north of Lincoln, Illinois, the site of the reconstructed Postville Court House. While Practicing law on the 8th Judicial Circuit Abraham Lincoln attended trials in the original building. Route 136 passes south of Funks Grove named for Isaac Funk one of a group of farmers who raised large herds of cattle for shipment to eastern markets.
Route 136 exits Illinois northeast of Danville, home of Joseph "Uncle Joe" Cannon the powerful speaker of the US House of Representatives. Along its approximate 235 mile length Route 136 passes through eight of Illinois' 102 counties and three of its county seats.
Fluorite, the official Illinois State Mineral, was discovered in 1839 by James Anderson while digging a well near Fairview Landing one half mile SW of this site. Fluorite was a waste product until the steel industry began using the mineral in their open hearth process in 1888. Rosiclare Lead and Fluorspar Mining Co., located 255 yards NW of this site, was the first major producer of fluorite. The largest and deepest fluorite mines in the world are located in Hardin County. For many years these mines have produced about three-fourths of the fluorite mined in the United States.
Ford's Ferry Road and Pott's Tavern (missing)
James Ford, a powerful and scheming leader of a gang of outlaws, owned a ferry that crossed the Ohio River near Cave-in-Rock from 1823 to 1833. Ford's Gang helped him acquire a fortune in land, money, slaves, and livestock by robbing and murdering travelers. Ford's Ferry Road was a ten-mile wooded trail from the ferry to Pott's Tavern, where weary settlers who had escaped Ford's highwaymen were victims of the same fate at the hands of owner Bill Potts. The Ford and Potts era at Cave-In-Rock ended with the murder of Ford in 1833 by another gang member.
Benjamin Dann Walsh
Benjamin Dann Walsh, Illinois state entomologist from 1867 to 1869, was a pioneer in the application of insect study to agriculture. Born in England in 1808, he earned his Master’s Degree from Trinity College in England in 1833. Though intended for the ministry, he chose the literary field and wrote for newspapers and magazines for several years. A man of varied interests, he published a pamphlet on university reform and a translation of The Comedies of Aristophanes. In 1838 he married Rebecca Finn and came to the United States.
From Chicago he moved to a farm near Cambridge where he remained for thirteen years. In 1851 he moved to Rock Island and engaged in the lumber business until 1858. Thereafter, he devoted himself to his long time hobby of entomology and was soon a recognized leader in the field. His first published entomological work appeared in 1860. In his lifetime he published 385 titles plus an additional 478 in collaboration with Charles V. Riley, another well-known entomologist. Walsh contributed regularly to the Prairie Farmer, Valley Farmer, and Illinois Farmer, was an editor of the Practical Entomologist, and was co-founder and editor of the American Entomologist with Riley. His private collection numbered 30,000 insects. His insect studies impressed scientists and, perhaps more important, agriculturists. He was one of the first to advocate that farmers use scientists’ methods to control insects.
His death on November 18, 1869 resulted from a railroad accident near Rock Island.
Two miles north of here, religious dissident immigrants from Sweden founded the communal society of Bishop Hill in 1846. The charismatic Erik Jansson lead the society spiritually and temporally until 1850 when he was murdered.
By 1854, a total of 1200 followers of all ages and backgrounds had arrived at Bishop Hill. Overcoming many hardships and trials, 12,000 acres of virgin land was improved for agricultural purposes. Various crops, including flax, broom corn and grain were grown. Orchards were also planted and furniture was manufactured.
In 1861, dissatisfaction and disillusionment resulted in a breakup of the society and the land was divided among the members.
Dixie Highway, The
The Dixie Highway was the first national road linking industrial northern states to agricultural so
This was the home of Fred Francis, inventor and innovator, artist and poet. Born near Kewanee in 1856, he graduated from the Illinois Industrial University, Urbana, in 1878. While there, he was one of the designers and builders of the 'Class of 78' clock, now in the north tower of the Illini Union. In this home, which he built, he incorporated many innovations, including a water purification system and air conditioning. Francis died in 1926 and bequeathed this estate to the City of Kewanee, to be maintained as a city park and museum.
For many years Butterfield Trail was one of the main routes from east-central Illinois to the Chicago area. In 1831 Ben Butterfield marked out the trail from Danville to Lockport, where he had settled the previous year. The trail crossed Spring Creek two miles northwest of Buckley. Following an old Indian trail, it stayed west of the creek, continuing northward and passing this point. It avoided the Iroquois River and forded the Kankakee west of Bourbonnais. Thence it ran to Hickory Creek and the Des Plaines River. At a point near Joliet it forked, both forks leading to Chicago.
Elizabeth Jenkins Logan
Elizabeth Jenkins, born in 1803 in North Carolina, married Dr. John Logan in 1825. When her son, John A. Logan, joined the Union army in 1861, Elizabeth refused to speak to him. In this, she reflected the strong southern feelings held across Egypt, as Southern Illinois was called. In 1867, Elizabeth founded a congregation of the Southern Methodist Church in Murphysboro. By 1870, mother and son had reconciled. Elizabeth Logan died in her home, located at this site in 1874. Her son, Thomas M. Logan, was a founder of the First Bank and Trust Company of Murphysboro, which now occupies this location.
First Coal Mine in Illinois
The first coal mine in Illinois was located one-half mile south of here along the south bank of the Big Muddy River. William Boone and his indentured servant, a man name Peter, loaded a small raft with coal from an outcropping and, after floating down the Big Muddy and the Mississippi, they unloaded the coal in New Orleans on November 10, 1810. The coal was used for blacksmithing. In the next two years they repeated the venture six more times and others soon joined in the operation, including Joseph Duncan, a future governor of Illinois.
While there had been earlier sightings of coal along the Illinois River, historians credit Boone’s mine as the beginning of the industry in Illinois. Until 1823 Jackson County was the only county in Illinois to produce coal and all the mines were in the immediate area of Boone’s first mine. The mines were drift mines where coal was removed by tunneling into the banks along the river. During the first five years about one hundred tons were being mined annually.
Following the Civil War the mines along the Big Muddy were consolidated into the Grand Tower Manufacturing, Mining, and Transportation Company. Coal was transported by rail, which came to be called the “Granny Line,” to Grand Tower for the iron blast furnaces there and to supply fuel for the Mississippi River steam boats. The Big Muddy mine was the genesis of the mammoth coal industry in Illinois which brought prosperity and thousands of jobs to the state.
Here once stood the thriving community of Green Plains. Established in the early 1830s, the settlement straddled four Hancock County Townships and included log homes, a store, a blacksmith shop, a post office, and several cemeteries. Levi Williams, a prominent settler who moved to Green Plains in the early 1830s, served as a county road commissioner and later as postmaster. In 1840 he was commissioned a colonel in the 59th Regiment in the state militia, commanding the Carthage Greys. He played a prominent role in military actions against the Latter-Day Saints and their leader, Joseph Smith. Williams died in 1860 and is buried in the Green Plains Cemetery, located one-half mile north. The community was abandoned in the 1860s.
Green Plains was also home to Mormon refugees, including the family of William W. Taylor. Born in 1787 in Martin County, North Carolina, Taylor married Elizabeth Patrick in 1811. In 1831, the family moved to Monroe County, Missouri, and joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Taylors were forced to leave Missouri in 1838 under the Extermination Orders of Governor Lilburn W. Boggs. Taylor died 9 September 1839 leaving Elizabeth a widow with 14 children. He was buried 300 feet east of this spot with about 40 others in the Old Pioneer Cemetery on land once owned by Levi Williams. Elizabeth immigrated with most of her children to Utah where she died in 1880.
In 1839 the Mormons, or Latter Day Saints, settled at Nauvoo and made it their chief city. During their residence its population reached 15,000. After long friction with non-Mormons the Mormons were expelled in 1846. Three years later French Communists called Icarians established a society here which lasted until 1857.
George Rogers Clark Campsite (3rd)
Lt. Col. Clark and his troop of 170 Virginians camped near here on July 2, 1778. It was their third campsite during a march from Fort Massac to Kaskaskia to capture that post from the British. Earlier that day, the troop was lost for a time on Phelp's Prairie. The next day, they would cross the Big Muddy River at Marshall's Ford. The Kaskaskia attack and a later one at Vincennes, Indiana, secured the Illinois Territory for the United States during the Revolutionary War.
George Rogers Clark Campsite (4th)
In the third year of the American War for Independence, Lt. Col. George Rogers Clark and his army of 170 Virginia volunteers camped five miles southeast of here. On July 2, 1778, Clark made the fourth of five camps on his march from Fort Massac to Kaskaskia. Two days later, Clark liberated Kaskaskia, and then moved east to Vincennes, thus securing the Illinois Territory from the British and their Indian allies.
Fort La Motte
About 1812, the settlers in this area built Fort LaMotte for protection from hostile Indians. The p
This building was constructed for the Southern Division of the Illinois Supreme Court, one of three Divisions created by the Constitution of 1848. Court met in lodge halls in Mount Vernon prior to completion of the center section of this building about 1857. The 1870 Constitution established a system of Appellate Courts and Mount Vernon was named the seat of the Fourth District. The Supreme Court shared the building until 1897, after which all of its sessions were held in Springfield.
Mt. Vernon Car Mfg. Co
When railroads were king, The Mt. Vernon Car Manufacturing Company brought prosperity and recognition to this community. With freight car building being the primary business, the Mt. Vernon Car Manufacturing Company's products were sold to institutions which carried its name all across the civilized world. Established on April 16, 1890, it was in operation for 64 years.
In 1926, The Mount Vernon Car Manufacturing Company erected this building as its central office. In addition to having the largest payroll for its era, its local tax revenue made a large contribution to the economic expansion of this community.
Hamilton Primary School
In 1834 Dr. Silas Hamilton, physician and humanitarian, bequeathed $4,000 for construction and operation of a building for educational and religious purposes. A stone school was opened in 1836, and the tuition-free education for local students attracted families to this area. The school was razed in 1872, rebuilt and enlarged, with the original stones at the base. Classes were held here until 1971.
George Washington, a slave freed by Dr. Hamilton, studied here, became successful, and established a perpetual scholarship fund for Americans of African descent. He also provided for the erection of a monument to his former master.
Apple River Fort
Here, during the Black Hawk War, was located Apple River Fort, constructed by 45 residents in response to rumors of an Indian uprising. The 10,000 sq. foot fort with walls 12 feet high contained several cabins and a two story blockhouse. On June 24, 1832, Black Hawk and 200 warriors attacked while most of the men were out hunting. Elizabeth Armstrong rallied the women and defenders until relief arrived. Only one frontiersman, George W. Herlerode, lost his life during the 45 minute battle. In honor of Mrs. Armstrong, the Apple River Settlement was renamed Elizabeth on November 25, 1842.
This area reminded Frenchman John LaMotte of the land of milk and honey, Palestine. While a member
United States Land Office
A United States Land Office was located at this site in 1820 and operated until 1855. Settlers from
De Soto House, The
Opened in April, 1855, the five-story, 240 room De Soto House was "the largest and most luxurious hotel in the West." Abraham Lincoln spoke from its balcony in 1856 and Stephen A. Douglas in 1858. Ulysses S. Grant maintained his 1868 presidential campaign headquarters here. By 1880 Galena's prosperity had faded and the hotel's two upper stories were removed.
George Rogers Clark Campsite (2nd)
This marker commemorates the July 1, 1778, campsite for Lt. Col. Clark's troop of 170 volunteers. At the time, the site had a nearby spring and was north of a place called Buffalo Gap. The men were marching from Fort Massac to capture the British post at Kaskaskia. This attack and a later one at Vincennes, Indiana, prevented the British and their Indian allies from invading Kentucky. It also secured the Illinois Territory for the United States during the Revolutionary War.
Billy and Ma Sunday
Evangelist William 'Billy' Sunday and his wife Helen 'Ma' Sunday owned this farm, 1899-1913, and spent their summers here. Ma was born on the farm. Billy was born in Ames, Iowa, in 1862. He played outfield for Chicago and other National League Baseball Clubs, 1883-1890. From 1896 until his death in 1935 he conducted religious revivals in cities and towns across the nation. His wife shared his work. In May-June 1900 Billy led a month-long revival in West Dundee Park.
Elgin Milk Condensing Company
Gail Borden, pioneer in the food preservative industry, established a milk condensing plant on this site in 1865. His discovery incorporated a process by which water was evaporated from milk, and sugar added as a preservative. This process, patented in 1856, increased the availability and variety in dairy products, allowing the populace a sanitary and nourishing alternative to fresh milk. The stringent procedures he employed inspired high standards, revolutionizing the dairy industry by 1881. This company was the largest of its kind and a major factor in determining Elgin's reputation as a dairy center. Production ceased in 1918 due to the rising cost of milk. Elgin's Gail Borden Library, located nearby, is named in his honor.
Elgin National Watch Company
From 1866 to 1966 this site was occupied by the Elgin National Watch Company. This was the first watch factory built west of the Alleghenies and grew to become the world's largest. During its lifetime over 60 million "Elgin" watches were manufactured here. The building was highlighted by a 144 foot tall clock tower containing dials with numerals three feet in length - a foot longer than those of London's "Big Ben." Located nearby was an observatory built for astronomical time determination before the advent of national standards. The observatory is now used as a planetarium by School District U-46.
Elgin Road Races
This marker is along the "south leg" of the Elgin road races. Beginning in 1910, many leading drivers and mechanics competed here in grueling tests of speed and endurance that contributed to the development of the modern automobile.
Manufacturers were attracted to these races because the course had no cross roads, steep hills, railroad tracks, or population centers to reduce the car's speed. The race's success was enhanced by proximity to Chicago and the cooperation of area farmers.
The 8-1/2 mile route consisted of oil-soaked dirt and gravel roads. From here, the course extended east onto Larkin Avenue, north on McLean Boulevard, west on Highland Avenue, south on Coombs Road, then east again on Galena Road - now route 20.
The first entries were factory stock models with the fenders and windshields removed. Beginning in 1911, race cars designed for the Indianapolis 500 were allowed to compete.Thousands of spectators attended each year as racing continued from 1911 through 1915. After being suspended during World War I, the contests resumed in 1919 and 1920 - a period when cars took on a more streamlined appearance.
The Elgin Races lost favor as motorists and farmers objected to road closures. For safety reasons, open road courses like these were replaced by closed track racing. After a revival in 1933 to coincide with the Chicago World's Fair, the Elgin Road races passed into automotive history.
Illinois Watch Case Company
For more than 70 years, this site was occupied by the Illinois Watch Case Company. The firm was a leader in the domestic watch industry and by the 1920's had produced more than 30 million watch cases.
A subsidiary produced jewelry goods, lockets, cigarette lighters, and the famed "Elgin American" ladies compacts. During World War II, the company won an Army-Navy Excellence Award for its production of mortar shells and war-related materials.
Foreign competition and a changing market eventually led to an end of production in the early 1960's.
Pinkerton's Early Home
Allan Pinkerton, famous detective, had his home and cooperage on this lot, 1844-1850. Here he sheltered and employed slaves escaping to freedom. After helping to capture some counterfeiters, he became deputy sheriff of Kane County in 1848. In 1850 he founded his detective agency in Chicago. In February 1861 he was the bodyguard of President-Elect Abraham Lincoln on the train trip to Washington. Early in the Civil War he directed the spy service of the Union Army.
Bourbonnais Grove's first families came from Quebec's upper St. Lawrence Valley in the 1830s and 40s to settle what would become the largest 19th century French Canadian agrarian village in Illinois. Some immigrants moved on to found St. Anne, St. Mary, L'Erable, and Papineau. In 1865 Viateurian fathers established St. Viateur College. The Letourneau Home Museum, Maternity BVM Church and surviving Viateurian buildings are memorials to these French Canadians who were an influential part of Illinois' pioneer population.
Durham-Perry Family Legacy, The
Thomas Durham bought 160 acres on this site in 1835 from Gurdon S. Hubbard. Known as the Jonveau Reserve, the land lay in an area called Bourbonnais Grove. Durham opened 20 acres for cultivation in January 1836. Parts of Cook and Iroquois counties became Will County, and Durham's Farm became park of the Rock Village Precinct. Durham was elected precinct commissioner. He petitioned to have the Bourbonnais Trace (now IL Route 102) made a state road. Durham became Bourbonnais Grove's postmaster in 1849 and remained so until Kankakee County was formed in 1853. He died in 1854, was buried on this site, and left the farm to his sons.
David Perry came to Bourbonnais Grove in 1840, built a mill and married Durham's daughter, Martha. He bought the farm from Durham's sons in 1866. When he died in 1847, his son Alvah inherited the farm. A tenant farmer maintained the land while Alvah and his family lived in Wilmette. They spent summers and holidays at the farmhouse. Alvah died in 1899.
Lomira Alvah Perry -- a University of Chicago graduate, Kankakee High School's Dean of Girls, and the last living daughter of Alvah -- died in 1961. She left the farm in trust to the State of Illinois. She hoped some part of it could be made a park. In 1986, the State awarded the farm to the Bourbonnais Township Park District.
James Harrison Wilson
James H. Wilson, American Army Officer, Engineer, and Author, was born in 1837 on his family's farm
Carl Sandburg Birthplace
Carl Sandburg, poet and historian, was born in this modest three-room cottage on January 6, 1878. He was the son of a Swedish immigrant railroad worker. Carl attended Lombard college in Galesburg, and his first poetry was published in this town. He later became a journalist and prolific author. His Complete Poems and a biography, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, won Pulitzer prizes. He also wrote a novel, an autobiography, children's stories, and folksongs. After his death in 1967, his ashes were buried beneath Remembrance Rock behind his birthplace.
In this area stood a Potawatomi Village when Michael Fraker arrived from Kentucky about 1830. With kindness and understanding he negotiated a peaceful settlement with the Indians and became the first permanent settler in northeastern Knox County. His grave is about one-half mile south of this point.
Adlai Ewing Stevenson II, 1900-1965
Adlai Ewing Stevenson - Governor of Illinois from 1948 to 1952, twice the Democratic Party Nominee for President, and United States Ambassador to the United Nations - built this residence in 1938. Known as 'The Farm,' the house, outbuildings, and surrounding meadows and woods comprise seventy acres. Throughout his career of public service, Stevenson often returned to The Farm for rest and inspiration. The property is now owned by the Lake County Forest Preserve District.
Andrew C. Cook House
In 1840, Andrew C. Cook and his wife Mary Oakes came to Wauconda Township from Vermont via the Erie Canal, the Great Lakes to Chicago and then to Wauconda. They purchased 380 acres of land at $1.25 per acre. A log cabin was erected before clearing the land. Early in 1850 he began construction on this rural Greek Revival style farmhouse, making the bricks from the clay and limestone of the nearby area. The house was built in three stages. As seen by the three colors of brick fired at different temperatures and times in his kiln. He was a Stalwart Republican in Lake County politics, holding many offices including township supervisor. The first township meeting was held in this house.
Dwyer Settlement In Lake County, Illinois, The
In 1837, William Dwyer, his wife Mary, and Mary's brother, Dr. Richard Murphy, a physician, established a claim to the property on this site and created what was known as the Dwyer settlement. The Dwyer's Homestead included a tavern and one of the five stage stops along the Green Bay Trail in Lake County. It became known as the center of social activity: nurturing political, intellectual, and religious ties in the newly settled area. The Dwyer Settlement was the site of St. Ann's Church and Cemetery (1844), the first Catholic Parish in the area.
William Dwyer served as the first road supervisor for this portion of Green Bay Road and served as a tax collector. Dr. Murphy was appointed first magistrate for the area and, as deputy to the federal marshal, recorded the Lake County Census for 1840. Murphy served for six years (1839-'45) in the Illinois State Legislature, drafting the first Illinois Public School Law, and acting as chair of the State Finance Committee. Dwyer and Dr. Murphy were instrumental in the 1839 formation of Lake County through the division of McHenry County, also in moving the county seat from Libertyville to Waukegan. The Dwyer's Tavern was the first polling place in the area and the site of the first shield township meeting on April 2, 1952. The Dwyer Settlement gave a permanent character to this area and from it grew the community now known as Lake Bluff.
Benjamin Lundy, 1789-1839 (missing)
Quaker newspaper editor of the abolitionist 'Genius of Universal Emancipation' printed at Hennepin then Lowell, four miles south, November 8, 1838 to August 22, 1839. He had published it since 1821 in Ohio, Tennessee, Baltimore, Washington, D. C. and Philadelphia. Lundy is buried in Friends Cemetery near McNabb.
Clyde William Tombaugh
Clyde William Tombaugh was born in Streator in 1906. As a young boy he was very interested in the universe and built his own telescope. He moved to Kansas to study astronomy at the state university. He became an assistant at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona at the age of 23. A year later in 1930, while working from reckonings made by Percival Lowell in 1914, Tombaugh discovered the most distant planet in our solar system, which he named Pluto.
First Permanent Norwegian Settlement in the United States
Here is commemorated the 100th anniversary of the first permanent Norwegian settlement in the United States by Cleng Peerson and other pioneers from Norway. They and their descendants, who still live here have contributed largely to the development of this section of Illinois.
On the eminence to the southwest, stood Fort Wilbourn, where the Third Army of Illinois Volunteers was mustered in for service in the Black Hawk War. Here on June 16, 1832 Abraham Lincoln enlisted as a Private in Jacob M. Early's Company, his third enlistment of the war.
Illinois and Michigan Canal
This historic artery of travel was commenced in 1836 and finished in 1848. By carrying pioneers and their produce between Lake Michigan and the Illinois Valley, it figured largely in the development of Northern Illinois. Superseded by the Deep Waterway after fifty years of use, it is now devoted to recreational purposes.
Indian Creek Massacre (Old)
On May 20, 1832, hostile Indians, mainly Potawatomi, massacred fifteen men, women and children of the Indian Creek settlement two miles to the west. Two girls, Rachel and Sylvia Hall, were carried into captivity and later ransomed. All had disregarded the warning of Shabbona, the white man's friend.
First Lincoln-Douglas Debate
On August 21, 1858, the first of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln and US Senator Stephen A. Douglas took place in this park. Approximately 10,000 people gathered to hear the two candidates discuss the question of slavery in America. Candidate Lincoln rebuffed attempts to portray him as an abolitionist, one advocating the immediate emancipation of all slaves in the US. Although Lincoln said he personally believed slavery was morally wrong, he maintained that the institution was protected by the Constitution. Senator Douglas, however, refused to address the morality of slavery. He insisted that the people in the individual states should be allowed to decide the question for themselves. Lincoln lost the election, but two years later he and Douglas were rivals again in the Presidential race. Two other Democratic candidates who favored slavery, John Bell and John C. Breckenridge, entered the race and took votes that probably would have gone to Douglas. His opposition fractured, Lincoln won a majority in the Electoral College with a minority of the popular vote and became our 16th President.
Railroads and the Founding of Mendota
In 1853 two railroads met near this spot and the community of Mendota was born. Mendota is an Indian word said to mean "crossing of the trails." The Chicago & Aurora Railroad planned to expand southwest from Aurora to meet the Illinois Central Railroad. Meanwhile, the IC was building northward up the middle of the state. Its charter called for its main line to proceed northward from Cairo to the western end of the Illinois & Michigan Canal at LaSalle. From there it was to turn northwest toward the Galena mining district. During a chance meeting of several railroad officers in early 1852 in Boston, the lines agreed to have the C&A and the Central Military Tract Railroad, which would connect Mendota and Galesburg, meet the Illinois Central at the point closest to Aurora. In June of that year, the Illinois legislature authorized extension of the C&A "to a point not less than 15 miles north" of the canal. Thus the curve of the IC toward Galena was moved to a point just north of this marker. In 1856 the C&A and the Central Military Tract Railroads merged and became the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. That line, through recent mergers, has become the Burlington Northern Santa Fe. The Illinois Central, meanwhile, abandoned its line through Mendota in 1985.
To Victory, February 25, 1779
On February 5, 1779 Colonel George Rogers Clark and his army began the difficult march from Kaskaskia to Fort Sackville at Vincennes. At daybreak on February 21, they began to cross the swollen Wabash near here. They went on to capture Fort Sackville and thus establish a firm American foothold in the northwest.
The western boundary of the Vincennes Tract passed through this point. The line extended south-southwest thirty-nine miles from present-day Crawford through Lawrence, Wabash, and Edwards Counties in Illinois. The Vincennes Tract was seventy-two miles wide. About six-sevenths of it lay in Indiana. The Illinois portion was the first parcel of land in the Illinois country ceded by Indians. The land was ceded in the Treaty of Greenville, August 5, 1795, and confirmed in a treaty at Fort Wayne, June 7, 1803. Acting for the United States, William Henry Harrison, Governor of Indiana Territory, negotiated the 1803 treaty with the Delaware, Shawnee, Potawatomi, Miami, Eel River, Wea, Kickapoo, Piankashaw, and Kaskaskia tribes. Illinois was then a part of Indiana Territory.
Was stationed here during the Black Hawk War in 1832, as captain of volunteers. On April 21, 1832, he enlisted at Richland Creek, Sangamon County, and was elected captain. He was mustered into state service at Beardstown on April 22 and into United States service at the mouth of Rock River May 3. At the mouth of Fox River on May 27, he was mustered out and on the same day re-enlisted as a private in Captain Elijah Iles' Company. At the expiration of this enlistment, he re-enlisted on June 16, at Fort Wilbourn in Captain Jacob M. Early's Company, and was finally mustered out of service on July 10, 1832, at White Water River, Wisconsin.
Two miles north of here, religious dissident immigrants from Sweden founded the communal society of
Lincoln in the Black Hawk War
On May 12, 1832 Captain Abraham Lincoln's company of Illinois volunteers camped one mile west. Lincoln re-enlisted in two other companies and was frequently in Dixon. Discharged from service near Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, on July 10, Lincoln passed through Dixon en route to New Salem.
Mormons in Amboy
The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was established in 1852 in southern Wisconsin. On April 6, 1860, Joseph Smith II, son of the Mormon founder, was ordained President-Prophet of the Reorganized Church. The ceremony was held at Goldman's Hall, which stood on this site at Amboy. A Mormon congregation had been organized here about 1840. Smith headed the Reorganized Church until his death in 1914. Church Headquarters was founded at Plano, Illinois in 1866, moved to Lamoni, Iowa, in 1881 and to Independence, Missouri, in 1921.
Old Chicago Trail
The Old Chicago Trail extended from Fort Dearborn to Galena. A government mail route was established along this Indian trail in 1829. The Potawatomi ceded their territory to the government in 1833. This route became the first East-West stagecoach trail across Northern Illinois. Paw Paw Grove, one of the first settlements along the route, was a midway haven between Chicago and Galena. It was over this trail Poetess Margaret Fuller traveled in 1843, she wrote: "We traveled the blooming plain unmarked by any road, only the friendly track of the wheels which beat, not broke the grass. Our stations were not from town to town, but from grove to grove."
The village of Cardiff was built on this site in 1899, after the discovery of underground coal deposits. A mine was sunk and a relatively large town developed within months. The town, originally known as North Campus, incorporated as the village of Cardiff in May 1900.
A series of mine explosions from March 12 - 16, 1903, killed nine mine workers. Three men remain entombed in the mine. A second mine was sunk to the west, and mining operations resumed. More than 2,000 people lived in Cardiff at its peak. Cardiff had a church, a school, two banks, two grain elevators, a semi-pro baseball team, a bottling plant, railroad passenger service, a hotel, numerous saloons, and other businesses. Prosperity continued for Cardiff until the high quality coal ran out and the Wabash Railroad, the mine's biggest customer, refused to buy Cardiff coal. The mine closed in 1912.
A total of 18 men died in mine accidents in Cardiff.
Almost as fast as the town developed, it disappeared. Houses and other buildings were dismantled or moved whole. Today, the town of Cardiff is gone, yet remains a legally incorporated village. Two large hills of waste from the mine are monuments to the people who lived, worked, and died here. Dozens of acres that had been homes, stores, yards, and streets have now gone back to farmland.
First Coal Mine - Jackson County
First Coal MineThe first coal mining operations in Illinois took place in the Big Muddy River bluff
This stone building was a warehouse on the Illinois and Michigan Canal. It was built by James Clark, a resident of Utica, one year after the canal was completed in 1848. Before the advent of the railroads the canal was the main commercial artery to Chicago. It helped establish Chicago as an important grain market and contributed greatly to the growth of that city and the northern part of the Illinois River Valley. Clark had also constructed five sections of the canal. He operated a general store in his warehouse, which shipped an average of 210,000 bushels of corn and 22,000 bushels of oats per year. It is the only surviving warehouse on canal frontage.
Homes of Chief Waubonsie and Madeline Ogee
Deep within the Paw Paw Grove, or As-Sim-In-Eh-Kon, Potawatomi Chief Waubonsie and his tribe made their home 1824-1836. At the Treaty of Prairie Du Chien 1829, Madeline Ogee, Potawatomi wife of Joseph Ogee, was granted two sections of land in the granted two sections of land in the grove. Potawatomi, Chippewa, Ottawa Chiefs, Waubonsie, Shabbona, and Sauganash (Billy Caldwell) aided the U.S. Government during the Black Hawk War. At the Treaty of Chicago, 1833, the Potawatomi Confederation ceded approximately 5 million acres of land in northwest Illinois to the government. In 1836 the Indians were removed from their homes to northwest Missouri and southwest Iowa. The Ogee section was sold to David town for $1,000 in silver.
Tampico - Birthplace of President Reagan
On February 6, 1911, Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, was born in Tampico in an upstairs apartment at 111 South Main Street.
His father, John "Jack" Reagan, of Irish-Catholic ancestry, was a clerk in the H. C. Pitney Store at 122/124 South Main Street and gave Ronald the nickname "Dutch." His mother, Nelle Wilson Reagan, was of Scots-English background. Ronald had one brother, Neil "Moon" Reagan.
The small town atmosphere of Tampico played an important role in Reagan's formative years. As a child he played on a cannon in this park. The grandchildren of Tampico’s founder, J. W. Glassburn, were his friends and introduced him to horseback riding. In the nearby Hennepin feeder canal, he became an excellent swimmer, a skill he would later use as a lifeguard on the Rock River.
Both of Reagan’s parents were known for their acting ability in productions at Burden’s Opera House, 102 Main Street. His mother’s Christian influence and local churches had a large bearing on his life and values.
Ronald Reagan became a sports announcer, a well-known movie star, served as governor of California from 1967–1975, and then as president of the United States from 1981–1989. He died in 2004 and is buried at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
Tampico is also the birthplace of Admiral Joseph M. “Bull” Reeves, knows as the “Father of Carrier Aviation.” The town’s Shaheen family became noted for government and legal services.
Chatsworth Wreck: Midnight, August 10-11, 1887, The
One-half mile north on the Toledo, Peoria & Western Railroad occurred one of the worst wrecks in American rail history. An excursion train - two engines and approximately twenty wooden coaches - from Peoria to Niagara Falls, struck a burning culvert . Of the 500 passengers about 85 perished and scores were injured.
Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln Illinois
Near this site Abraham Lincoln christened the town with the juice of a watermelon when the first lots were sold on August 27, 1853. President-elect Lincoln spoke here, November 21, 1860, while traveling to Chicago and Lincoln's funeral train stopped here, May 3, 1865, before completing the trip to Springfield.
On this site Dr. John Deskins erected a tavern in 1836. Abraham Lincoln, David Davis, and other lawyers frequently stayed overnight here while the Eighth Judicial Court was in session at the Postville Court House. The judge, lawyers, litigants, witnesses, jurors and prisoners often shared the same dining table.
Elkhart City in Logan County is typical of the many Illinois villages whose growth was spurred by the arrival of the railroad. Founded by John Shockey in 1855, two years after the coming of the Alton and Sangamon Railroad, now the Gulf Mobile and Ohio, Elkhart was for many years one of the largest shipping points on this line.
Southeast of the site, on Elkhart Hill, is the mansion 'Oglehurst,' home and burial place of Richard J. Oglesby (1824-1899), three times elected Governor of Illinois (1864, 1872, 1884). Ten days following his second inauguration he was elected United States Senator by the Illinois Legislature and served in that capacity until 1879. Governor Oglesby moved to Elkhart in 1890, following his retirement from public life.
Another prominent Elkhart resident was John Dean Gillett (1819-1883), one of the cattle kings of the prairies. A New Englander by birth, he came to Logan County in 1838. Through his skill in the raising and feeding of cattle, his name became a byword for superior quality beef in both this country and in England. At the time of his death, Gillett's land holdings totaled more than 16,000 acres.
Captain Adam H. Bogardus (1833-1913), wildfowl market hunter, conservationist and champion wingshot, made his home for many years in Elkhart. In 1878, he defeated Aubrey Coventry, English champion wingshot, 79 to 78. Returning to the United States, Bogardus toured with William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody's 'The Wild West.'
DeSoto House, The
Opened in April, 1855, the five-story, 240 room De Soto House was 'the largest and most luxurious h
George Field Army Air Corps Base, 1942-1946
America at war in 1942 needed new bases to complete the training of its Army Air Corps cadets before they joined combat groups overseas. "Allison Prairie" in Lawrence County, Illinois, provided ideal conditions for a field due to its size and varied weather patterns. On April 16, 1942, the War Department announced the selection and began construction in June. On August 10, Colonel George W. Mundy officially took command of the 2,836 acre complex then named George in honor of the late Brigadier General Harold "Pursuit" George.
The first class of cadets arrived at George Field on October 16. Six days later, Major General Ralph Royce officially dedicated the field before a crowd of 25,000 residents and Army personnel. Colonel Edwin B. Bobzien took command of the field in November.
Cadets assigned to George Field were ready for advanced two-engine school training in Beech AT-10s, having already completed-flight, primary, and basic training. The school graduated 1,932 cadets in its first year alone. The nineteenth and final class graduated on August 4, 1944.
George Field served as a glider-towing school after August 15, 1944, for C-47s towing CG4-A gliders designed to carry up to twenty-four men. The 850th troop carrier command and Colonel Tracy K. Dorsett assumed control of the field until the Army closed it on January 31, 1946. The federal government deeded the land and the facility to the City of Lawrenceville in 1948.
On Abraham Lincoln's last birthday, February 12, 1865, ground was broken for Lincoln University, now Lincoln College. The town proprietors, Robert B. Latham, John D. Gillett and Virgil Hickox, donated the tract of land for the original campus, and named the school in honor of their friend, Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln House, The
On this site the town proprietors erected the original Lincoln House in 1854. Leonard Volk met Abraham Lincoln on the sidewalk in front of the hotel on July 16, 1858, and arranged to make Lincoln's life mask later.
Lincoln Public Library
The Lincoln Public Library is a fine example of public neo-classical construction. This W.A. Otis structure was completed in 1903. A stained glass dome and oak woodwork highlight the interior. Major benefactors were Steven Foley who guided its construction, Isabel Nash who willed her home as the site, and the Carnegie Foundation. The Library's history typifies the combination of national wealth, grass roots initiative, and the cultural ideals which generated the free library movement and its goal of a free and educated American society. The Library was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Elgin Road Races
This marker is along the "south leg" of the Elgin road races. Beginning in 1910, many leading drive
Mount Pulaski Court House
Mount Pulaski served as the seat of Logan County from 1848 to 1853. The first county court was at Postville, now part of Lincoln, Illinois. In 1848, Logan County voters approved the removal of the court from Postville to Mount Pulaski. Local citizens raised $2,700 toward the construction of this building. Among those attending court here were Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, Lyman Trumbull, and David Davis. In 1853, the County Seat was moved by legislation to Lincoln. The Mount Pulaski Court House was then used as a school house, later as the City Hall, and, finally, as the Post Office. The State of Illinois acquired the building in 1936.
Niebuhr Family of Theologians
The Niebuhr family, called “The Trapp Family of Theology” by Time magazine, produced four distinguished professors of Christian studies. In 1902, the Rev. Gustav and Lydia Niebuhr came to Lincoln, where he became pastor of St. John’s Evangelical Church and Deaconess Hospital administrator. All four of their children – Hulda, Walter, Reinhold, and Helmut Richard – were confirmed here.
After Gustav’s death, Reinhold (1892-1971) assumed the interim pastorate and was ordained at St. John’s on June 29, 1913. From a Detroit pastorate he moved to New York in 1928 and taught at Union Theological Seminary, exerting wide influence in religion and politics through his doctrine of Christian realism. His works include The Serenity Prayer, used by the military, AA and other personal recovery programs. In 1948 he appeared on the cover of Time magazine and in 1964 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
H. Richard Niebuhr (1894-1962), an authority on theological ethics and church history, was president of Elmhurst College and taught at Eden Seminary in St. Louis and at Yale for 31 years. His son, Richard R. Niebuhr, taught theology at Harvard from 1956 to 1999. Hulda Niebuhr (1889-1959) taught at Boston University and at McCormick Seminary, Chicago. Lydia’s sister, Adele Hosto, was consecrated a deaconess at St. John’s in 1914 and served in Lincoln beginning in 1942.
During the Niebuhr pastorate, St. John’s Evangelical Church stood at Fifth and Union Streets. St. John United Church of Christ is that church’s descendant. H. Richard Niebuhr spoke at its dedicate in 1925. Gustav, Lydia and Hulda Niebuhr and Adele Hosto are buried in Union Cemetery in Lincoln.
In 1835 Russell Post, a Baltimore adventurer, laid out the town of Postville which became the first Logan County seat. The town square is now Postville Park. Here Abraham Lincoln and his friends played townball, a predecessor of baseball, threw the maul, a heavy wooden hammer, and pitched horseshoes.
Robert B. Latham Home
On this site stood the home of Robert B. Latham who joined John D. Gillett and Virgil Hickox to found the town of Lincoln in 1853. Abraham Lincoln, judges and lawyers of the Eighth Judicial Circuit were frequent guests at his home.
Stephen A. Douglas Speech
On this site during the senatorial campaign of 1858 Stephen A. Douglas spoke to a Democratic political rally in a circus tent on September 4th. Douglas' opponent for the Senate seat, Abraham Lincoln, was on the train from Bloomington to Springfield and stopped to hear the speech.
Lincoln in Lawrenceville
In 1840 Abraham Lincoln, as a Whig elector, campaigned in Southern Illinois for William Henry Harrison, Whig Presidential Candidate. Here in Lawrenceville, on October 28, he had a dispute with a local physician, William G. Anderson, who the previous August had run as a Democrat and lost the election for State Representative. In writing to Lincoln on October 30, Dr. Anderson said that Lincoln was the "aggressor" in the dispute and that his "words imported insult." Lincoln denied the charge, saying that he regretted the incident.
William Maxwell Boyhood Home
William Maxwell (1908-2000), author and editor, lived in this home from 1910-1920. He often returned to this home and Lincoln in his novels and short stories. His Midwestern childhood, particularly his mother's death in the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918, influenced much of his writing. He graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana, and served as fiction editor for The New Yorker from 1936-1976. He wrote 14 works of fiction and memoir and his novel, So Long, See You Tomorrow, won the American Book Award in 1980. His name is etched on the frieze of the Illinois State Library.
Lincoln National Memorial Highway
From the site of the Lincoln cabin on the Sangamon three miles south of here, to the Wabash River opposite Vincennes, the Lincoln National Memorial Highway follows substantially the route taken by the Lincoln family in their migration from Indiana to Illinois in the Spring of 1830.
Lincoln's First Illinois Home
On an eminence overlooking the Sangamon River three miles south of here stood the first home of Lincoln in Illinois. To this site came the Lincoln family in March, 1830. Here they lived until 1831, when the parents removed to Coles County and Abraham set out on his own career.
Site of the Lincoln Cabin
The Lincoln Cabin stood near the north bank of the Sangamon River about 600 yards to the east.
First State Prison in Illinois
Ruins of the first state prison in Illinois. Built in 1830-31. Unsanitary conditions aroused persistent criticism from Dorothea Dix, pioneer in prison reform. All inmates were transferred to Joliet prior to 1860. During the Civil War many Confederate prisoners were incarcerated here and deaths averaged to ten a day.
One quarter-mile to the west stood Fort Russell, a wooden stockade which served as a base of supplies and operations for the Illinois militia during the War of 1812. From here, for months at a time, Governor Ninian Edwards administered the affairs of Illinois Territory.
Indian Creek Massacre
On May 20, 1832, hostile Indians, mainly Potawatomi, massacred fifteen men, women and children of t
Governor Coles and Slavery
Site of the courthouse where in 1824 political enemies convicted Governor Edward Coles of illegally freeing his slaves. 'To preserve to a continuous line of generations that liberty obtained by the valor of our forefathers, we must make provisions for the moral and intellectual improvement of those who are to follow.'
This unique Queen Anne style playhouse was built in 1885 for five year old Lucy J. Haskell, daughter of Dr. William A. and Florence Hayner Haskell. It is believed Lucy's grandfather, John E. Hayner, commissioned prominent local architect, Lucas J. Pfeiffenberger, to design the playhouse. In 1889, at age nine, Lucy died of diphtheria. After Florence Haskell's death in 1932, the Haskell family gave the estate to the City of Alton for educational and recreational purposes. The playhouse was to be retained in memory of Lucy J. Haskell. Designated a National Register Historic Landmark in 1974.
John Mason Peck
On this site in 1831, John Mason Peck (1789-1858), pioneer Baptist preacher, author, and educator, established the school which became Shurtleff College. In 1817, Peck had left his home in New England with a vision "to bring the lamp of learning and the light of the gospel" into the undeveloped West. He, his wife Sally, and three children endured an arduous four month trip in a small one-horse wagon, setting in Rock Spring, near O'Fallon, Illinois.
There, in 1827, Peck founded Rock Spring Seminary, the first institution of its kind in the State of Illinois. In 1831, the seminary was moved to the growing city of Alton, where, in 1836, the name was changed to Shurtleff College, recognizing the gift of $10,000 from Dr. Benjamin Shurtleff of Boston.
John Mason Peck is well described as a missionary and a teacher, an author and an editor, a geographer and a cartographer, and a promoter of churches, schools, and western settlement. For thirty years, he was undoubtedly one of the strongest advocates of education and righteousness in the entire Mississippi Valley. He traveled hundreds of miles by horseback or wagon, often under most difficult circumstances, while his wife and children bore his long absences with fortitude.
Peck was one of the foremost ministerial opponents of slavery in Illinois and provided great support to Governor Edward Coles' successful anti-slavery effort in 1824. In 1851, he was honored with a Doctor of Divinity degree from Harvard University. He died on March 16, 1858, and is buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.
Social visionary N. O. Nelson founded the village of Leclaire in 1890, naming it after Edme Jean Leclaire, who inaugurated profit sharing in France. In contrast to unsanitary urban tenement districts, Leclaire was a model cooperative village offering affordable homes, a healthful environment, free education, many opportunities for recreation and self-improvement, and pleasant working conditions at the N. O. Nelson Manufacturing Company. To support his commitment to the "Golden Rule," Nelson implemented profit-sharing and employee benefits. During the Great Depression, the City of Edwardsville annexed the Village. Leclaire was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
Lewis and Clark Expedition
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark originally planned to camp west of the Mississippi River during the winter of 1803-04. Carlos Dehault Delassus, the Spanish commandant at St. Louis, however, had not received formal notification from his government of the Louisiana Purchase and would not permit the expedition to cross the river. Thus in the middle of December, 1803, Clark led about twenty-five men to the winter camp on the American side at the mouth of the Wood River, then 1.25 miles southwest of this site.
At Camp River Dubois Lewis and Clark gathered supplies, compiled information and trained their men. Originally there were nine Kentuckians, fourteen soldiers, two French watermen, one hunter- interpreter and Clark's Negro servant at the camp. They were energetic, healthy individualists who did not accept discipline willingly. During the winter Lewis reprimanded several men for refusing to obey the orders of their officers, failing to perform sentry duty and making "hunting of other business a pretext to cover their design of visiting a neighbouring whiskey shop...."
Additional recruits enlisted for the first part of the trip Through hostile Indian country and in the spring three boats loaded with provisions, ammunition and merchandise were prepared for the long journey from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean and back. On May 14, 1804, Clark and about forty-five men "set out at 4 o'clock P.M., in the presence of many of the neighbouring inhabitants, and proceeded on under a gentle breeze up the Missouri."
Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Alton
The seventh and last debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas of the 1858 US Senatorial Campaign, was held at this site on October 15. A crowd estimated at between five and ten thousand people gathered in front of the old City Hall to hear the two candidates. The debates received National Attention, with Lincoln campaigning on an antislavery platform and Douglas on one of States' Rights. Douglas defeated Lincoln for the Senate seat, but, two years later, in 1860, was defeated by Lincoln for the Presidency.
Legend of the Piasa, The
In 1673, Jacques Marquette reported that he and fellow French explorer Louis Joliet discovered a painting of what was probably two "water monsters" on the bluffs of the Mississippi River near present-day Alton. By 1700, those pictographic creatures were no longer visible. In 1836, the novelist John Russell described an image cut into the bluff of a legendary dragon-like creature with wings. According to Russell, the creature was called Piasa, "the bird that devours men." That version of the pictograph, as well as myths about the Piasa, have become prominent in folklore.
Six Mile Prairie
Six Mile Prairie, located in the American Bottom six miles from St. Louis, was first settled in the 1830's by American farm families who migrated from the Upland south. With their crude farm implements, these pioneers broke through the tough prairie sod to grow crops in this rich bottomland, once called the "Garden Spot of the State." The increase in farm trade and stage coach traffic required improved access between Six Mile Prairie and St. Louis. In 1849 a plank road was constructed of 12 foot oak logs split and laid face up on stringers. This later became an extension of the National Road.
George Rogers Clark Campsite (1st)
Lt. Col. George Rogers Clark and his troop of 170 volunteers, principally Virginians, camped near this site, called Indian Point, on June 30, 1778. They were marching from Fort Massac to attack the British post at Kaskaskia. This was the first of five campsites on that march. Clark's men would take the post at Kaskaskia and, later, the British fort at Vincennes, Indiana. This work helped secure the Illinois Territory for the United States during the Revolutionary War.
Illinois in the American Revolution
George Rogers Clark arrived at Fort Massac on June 30, 1778, with about 175 men, under orders from Virginia to capture the British outposts in Illinois. British failure to regarrison the old French Fort here enabled Clark to enter the Illinois country without opposition. The British at Kaskaskia expected an attack from the Mississippi River. By marching overland Clark surprised them. He arrived at Kaskaskia on the night of July 4-5, and quickly secured the fort without resistance.
Welcome to Illinois
In 1673 the areas of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers were explored by Frenchman Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette. Their voyages resulted in French claims on the area until 1763 when, by the Treaty of Paris, France ceded the land to Great Britain. During the Revolution the Illinois Territory was won for the Commonwealth of Virginia by George Rogers Clark and his army. In 1784 it became part of the Northwest Territory and on December 3, 1818 Illinois entered the Union as the twenty-first state. US Route 45 enters Illinois at Brookport proceeding north past the site of Fort Massac, built by the French in 1757, rebuilt by Americans in 1794. It continues north and east through Harrisburg and through the oil fields of Wayne and Clay Counties. Near Mattoon the Wisconsin glacier stopped its southern movement. Route 45 bisects the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana, site of the University of Illinois. Kankakee lies along the route and was the site of early French-Canadian migration. North of Kankakee US 45 passes east of the Jolliet Arsenal which has supplied munitions to the military since 1941. The route skirts Chicago passing through its western suburbs. Route 45 eventually exits Illinois east of Antioch. Along its approximate 230 mile journey through Illinois, Route 45 passes through twenty of the state's 102 counties and eight county seats. Geographically the route begins on a plane roughly equal to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and ends on a plane north of New York City.
Benjaminville Friends Meeting House
Benjaminville was founded in the 1850's by Quaker farmers looking for rich prairie soil on which to grow their wheat. The Friends Meeting House, built in 1874, has changed little since then. The adjacent burial ground is divided into two sections: one for Quakers and a second for non-Quakers. When the expected Lake Erie Railroad went elsewhere, the town eventually died. The meeting house and burial ground are all that remain of Benjaminville. The site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
The first settlement in this area in 1822 was called Keg Grove. By the time a post office was established in 1829 the settlement was known as Blooming Grove. McClean County was organized the following year and Bloomington, which was laid out in 1831 just north of Blooming Grove on 22.5 acres of land donated by James Allin, was selected as county seat. It was incorporated as a town in 1843 and a city in 1850. In 1853 Illinois Wesleyan University was chartered here and in 1857 Normal University, first state-supported school of higher education in Illinois, was established in North Bloomington which soon changed its name to Normal. The State Republican Party was formally organized in Bloomington in 1856 at a convention that Abraham Lincoln delivered his 'Lost Speech,' so called because no record of it was kept. Several of Lincoln's close associates were local residents, including Jesse Fell, credited with the founding of Normal, Leonard Swett, lawyer and campaigner for Lincoln, and David Davis, appointed to the United States Supreme Court by Lincoln (1862-1877) and later United States Senator. Other distinguished residents include Governors John M. Hamilton and Joseph Fifer; Adlai Stevenson I, Vice-President under Cleveland; and Adlai Stevenson II, Governor, twice presidential candidate, and United Nations Ambassador.
David Davis Mansion
This Victorian mansion was the home of Judge David Davis, an associate of Abraham Lincoln's. Construction began in 1870 and was completed in 1872. The house is built of yellow hard-burned face brick with stone quoins in the corners. It is 64 feet wide, extends 88 feet back, and has a tower that rises 50 feet above the ground. The lavish interior includes eight marble fireplaces. Davis was appointed by President Lincoln to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1862 and became a United States Senator in 1877. He returned to Illinois in 1883 and lived here again until his death in 1886.
Thy Wondrous Story, Illinois
The fertile prairies of Illinois attracted the attention of French trader Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette as they explored the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers in 1673. France claimed this region until 1763 when he surrendered it to Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris.
During the American Revolution, George Rogers Clark scored a bloodless victory when he captured Kaskaskia for the Commonwealth of Virginia and Illinois became a county of Virginia. This area was ceded to the United States in 1784, and became in turn a part of the Northwest Territory and the Indiana and Illinois Territories. On December 3, 1818, Illinois entered the Union as the 21st state.
A short distance above Hamilton the lower rapids of the Mississippi River obstructed steamboat navigation. In 1820 the steamboat Western Engineer ascended to the foot of the rapids and three years later, the Virginia churned through the swift, shallow water.
In the late 1830's, Lieutenant Robert E. Lee supervised drilling and blasting to widen and deepen +the river channel. When this project proved too costly and ineffective, an independent canal around the western side of the rapids was started in 1866.
Between the Mississippi and the Illinois Rivers, Highway 136 cuts through the military tract, an area used as “Bounty Land” for veterans of the War of 1812; north of Warsaw, site of Fort Edwards (1814), south of Nauvoo, Mormon City of the 1840's and south of Dickson Mounds, ancient Indian burial site near the Illinois River.
Franklin Square Historic District
Franklin Square contains the homes of former Vice President Adlai Stevenson I and Governor Joseph Fifer. Franklin Park, the centerpiece of the district, was the starting point for partisan torchlight parades in the late nineteenth century. The park, named for Mayor Franklin Price, was donated to the City in 1856 by William Flagg, David Davis and William Allin. Many of the houses on the square were designed by architects Arthur Moratz, George Miller and Arthur Pillsbury. The park and bordering houses were listed on the National Register in 1976 and designated a local Historic District in 1979.
Home of Adlai E. Stevenson I
This was the home of Adlai E. Stevenson I, Vice-President of the United States, 1893-1897. Stevenson was born in Kentucky in 1835 and came to Bloomington in 1852. He attended Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington and Centre College in Kentucky. He began to practice law in Metamora, Illinois in 1858 and returned to Bloomington in 1868. A lifelong Democrat, Stevenson was elected to Congress in 1874 and 1878. He served as First Assistant Postmaster General in President Grover Cleveland's first administration, 1885-1889, and Vice President in Cleveland's second administration, 1893-1897. Stevenson bought this house in 1889. He died in 1914.
Home of Joseph W. Fifer
This was the home of Joseph W. Fifer, Republican Governor of Illinois, 1889-1893. Fifer was born in Virginia in 1840 and came to Illinois in 1857. During the Civil War he served in the 33rd Illinois Infantry Regiment. He graduated from Illinois Wesleyan in Bloomington in 1868 and began to practice law the next year. After being corporation counsel of Bloomington for one year and State's Attorney of McLean County for eight years, he served two terms as State Senator. He moved to these premises in 1893, at the end of his term as Governor, and lived in this red brick house from its completion in 1896 to his death in 1938.
Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Children School
The Illinois Soldiers and Sailors' Children's School (ISSCS) was established in 1865 as the Illinois Soldier's Orphans' Home. Dedicated in 1869, it provided a home for children of the Civil War veterans who had been killed or wounded. In 1899, the state allowed the school to admit indigent children of any veterans. Between 1907 and 1925, indigent children of non-veterans were admitted. In 1931, the name was changed to ISSCS. The facility closed in 1979.In these grounds for 114 years, scores of caregivers and educators provided thousands of children with a homelike environment.
Illinois U.S. Route 66 (site 1)
In 1926, construction began on a 2,448-mile highway from Chicago to Santa Monica, California. Route 66 reflected the increased use of motorized vehicles. The road, which cut diagonally across Illinois, passed through Lexington. Sleek restaurants, service stations and motels were built specifically to accommodate travelers. The original two-lane, concrete highway - a section of which is located here - was replaced over a span of thirty years by the more modern interstate highway system. In Illinois, Interstate-55 closely parallels old Route 66.
Matthew T. Scott
Matthew T Scott made his fortune on the grand prairie in the 19th century by developing thousands of acres of farmland. He founded the town of Chenoa in 1855 as a center for his business activities. Although Scott bought and sold over 45,000 acres of Illinois farmland, the development of his personal holdings of 5,000 acres in Livingston and McLean counties was his main interest. To produce maximum yields, Scott had his land drained with pipe tile and 250 miles of ditching. The productivity of his land was a tribute to Scott's planning and ingenuity. Scott's home, constructed in 1855 and enlarged in 1863, was restored in 1983 by his great niece, Elizabeth Stevenson Ives.
Site of the Grand Village of the Kickapoo
By the late 1700’s, the Kickapoo people had established a major settlement here, close to fertile fields, abundant game and timber, and important trade routes. Opposed to American expansion, these Native Americans allied with the British during the War of 1812. The village burning and crop destroying strategies of the American frontier militia forced the Kickapoo from their homes. This village and a nearby stockade were destroyed during that war. Many Kickapoo remained in Central Illinois until 1832 when they were forcibly removed by federal legislation. Today the Kickapoo live in Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin Stephenson, 1823-1871
Founder of the Grand Army of the Republic, Menard County resident, Rush Medical College graduate 1850, surgeon 14th Illinois Volunteers 1861-1864, he originated the G.A.R. name, ritual, constitution of Post No. 1, Decatur, April 6, 1866, called first national G.A.R. convention and was its first adjutant general.
Robert B. Latham Home
On this site stood the home of Robert B. Latham who joined John D. Gillett and Virgil Hickox to fou
Long Nine Banquet Site
In this structure, built about 1832, residents of the Athens area held a banquet on August 3, 1837, for the "Long Nine" - Abraham Lincoln and the other State legislators from Sangamon County. The men, whose height totaled fifty-four feet, were honored for their success in the tenth General Assembly in changing the State Capitol from Vandalia to Springfield. State offices were moved in 1839. At the Athens banquet Lincoln gave a toast: "Sangamon County will ever be true to her best interests and never more so than in reciprocating the good feelings of the citizens of Athens and neighborhood."
Mentor Graham, 1800-1886: Teacher of Abraham Lincoln
"I think I may say that he was my scholar and I was his teacher." At New Salem, Lincoln read Graham's books and in 1833 studied grammar and surveying. Teacher in Kentucky and Illinois more than 50 years, Graham died in South Dakota. In 1933 his remains were removed here.
Bellefontaine was one of the first settlements made by Americans in what is now Illinois. The earliest settlers included families of Revolutionary War veterans who had served with George Rogers Clark. Captain James Moore brought a band of pioneers from Virginia and Maryland in the winter of 1781-1782. The settlement took its name from a nearby spring the French called 'La Belle Fontaine' (beautiful spring). By the 1800's it was the third largest community in the Illinois Territory.
Holy Cross Lutheran Church of Wartburg
The church was organized in 1841 by Pastor G. A. Schieferdecker and settlers from Saxony, Thuringia, and Westfalia, Germany. The site was donated in 1849 by Johann Christian and Katherine Just. The present church was erected in 1863, and the tower was re-built in 1913. English services were introduced in 1926 but did not predominate until 1946. Monthly German services were discontinued in 1967. The congregation also operated a Christian day school here from 1841 until 1960. Holy Cross is considered the mother church for several surrounding congregations.
Maeystown, where three streams descend the bluff, was founded by Jacob Maeys in 1852. The original settlers were German members of the Forty-Eighter Movement. The village is unique in manner with structures integrated into the landscape. The original stone church held services intermittently in German until 1943. Sixty significant buildings still exist, including Maeys' log house, the original church, the stone bridge, Zeitinger's Mill, and various outbuildings, barns and smokehouses made of limestone, brick, and wood. These buildings built in the mid to late 1800's form this quaint little village. Maeystown was designated as an Historic District in 1978.
Barton Warren Stone (1772-1844)
A leading figure of the 19th-century "Stone-Campbell" Restoration movement, Barton Warren Stone owned and lived on this farm from 1838 to 1844. Stone advocated the unity of all Christians, served as an educator and church planter, and published The Christian Messenger, a leading journal of its day. Seeking a location free of slavery, in 1834 he moved from Kentucky to Jacksonville where he founded Central Christian Church.
Many Christian churches have their origin in the Stone-Campbell movement. Stone died in Hannibal, Missouri, in 1844, and was buried on this farm. In 1847, his body was moved to the Cane Ridge church cemetery near Paris, Kentucky.
Big Eli Wheel No. 17
"I have discovered the machine I want to design and build, a portable 'Ferris Wheel'". W.E. Sullivan, 1893.
A young man's dream became reality when W. E. Sullivan, of Roodhouse, Illinois, designed and built a small, portable, revolving wheel, patterned after the 'Ferris Wheel' at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He called his invention, "Big Eli."
On May 23, 1900, in the square of downtown Jacksonville, "Big Eli"a 45' high wheel made of twelve structural steel spokes with carriage seats at their extremities, and supported by a steel axle, offered rides to all who dared to revolve in the bridge-like contraption. It grossed $5.56 that day.
"Big Eli No, 17" was constructed in 1907 and was the 17th "wheel" built by Mr. Sullivan's manufacturing concern, Eli Bridge Company.
"Big Eli No, 17" thrilled crowds at amusement parks in Duluth, MN; Leavenworth, KS; San Antonio, TX; Guaymas, Mexico; and, Miami, FL. In 1957, No, 17 returned home to the Eli Bridge Company for renovation. Originally built with 10 seats, No. 17 was converted to a "12 seater" and sold to the Jacksonville Rotary Club. Rotary installed No. 17 in Nichols Park and operated it there until increased insurance costs forced its closure in 1985.
In 1986, the Rotary Club donated the "Big Eli No. 17" to the City of Jacksonville. With the assistance of Eli Bridge Company, and private donations, the structure was renovated and re-erected at its present site.
Big Eli No. 1 stands in the front yard of the Eli Bridge Company.
On this site stood the College Building, built in 1832. With a capacity of over 100, the main four-story brick structure, 100 by 40 feet, served as a dormitory and dining room. The north wing housed President Edward Beecher and family, the south wing Professor Julian Sturtevant and family. Fire destroyed the main building and the north wing on December 29, 1852. The south wing was razed in 1954. From 1839-1862, nine editions of Mitchell's Geography contained illustrations of the building, Harvard being the only other college so illustrated.
Farmers State Bank and Trust Company, The
The site of the Farmers State Bank and Trust Company Building, formerly known as the Ayers National Bank Building, has been associated with banking longer than any other site in the State of Illinois and possibly the entire Old Northwest.
By 1832, David Ball Ayers, with the help of his Philadelphia connections, was extending credit from this site to the residents of Morgan County. This building, which opened in 1913, housed the Ayers National Bank until the bank's failure in 1932. The building was later purchased by the Farmers State Bank and Trust Company.
First Illinois State Hospital for the Insane
Miss Dorothea Dix in her "memorial to the Senate and House of the Representatives of Illinois" urged their serious consideration of the afflicted condition of an increasing class of insane sufferers, whose healthful exercise of their intellectual faculties were withdrawn, incapable of self-government and self care. As a result the Assembly passed a law in 1847 stating "there shall be established, within four miles of the town of Jacksonville, county of Morgan, an institution to be known as the Illinois State Hospital for the Insane." Joseph Morton, James Dunlap, John J. Hardin, John Henry, Samuel D. Lockwood, William G. Thomas, Bezaleel Gillett, Nathaniel English and Owen M. Long constituted a body corporate as trustees. The building, under Superintendent Dr. James M. Higgins, was opened to accept the first patient, Sophronia McElhiney, McLean County, 3 November, 1851.
The first deceased patient buried on this site, 13 February, 1852, was Martha Fisher, Morgan County. This Immanuel North Cemetery has 234 recorded burials from 78 counties, 1852-1879 as copied form an old cemetery book uncovered in 1979 at the old administration building. The deceased hereon represent a cross section of various life-styles, friendships, occupations, religions, races and creeds from families of many nationalities and origins.
Legend has it that the name "Meredosia" comes from the French word for lake, "mere" and the name of the first white man to live in the area, a French priest named Antoine D'Osia. Another legend is that the willows along the lake shore were called "osiers" by the French or "Lake of the Willows."
The Illinois River made the village an important commercial center. Early transportation was by means of canoe or keel boat. Steamboats began coming to Meredosia in 1826 and were an important factor in organizing the village in 1832. Access to the ports of the world made the Kappal Brothers Fur Company the Midwest's second largest with over one-half million dollars in furs shipped to Russia and England annually. The Kappal buildings are still in use in the downtown section.
The Skinner Bandstand located in Boyd Park memorializes Meredosia's most famous son. Frank Skinner, famous as a composer, arranger, and director of musical scores for over 500 motion pictures, played and directed at this bandstand regularly in his youth in the 1910's.
The first steam locomotive west of the Allegheny Mountains was built in Meredosia. The "Northern Cross", which became the mighty Wabash Railroad, began on November 8, 1838 when an experimental steam locomotive, the "Rogers", took its initial journey. "Shellers" worked the river daily supplying their catch to three local button factories. The Wilbur E. Boyd Button Factory was the last independent "pearl" button factory in the U.S., ceasing operations in 1948.
Founded in 1829 by Presbyterian and Congregational ministers, it was the first college in Illinois to graduate a class. The first graduate was Richard Yates, Civil War Governor. Alma mater of William Jennings Bryan, '81. Beecher Hall, the State's oldest college building, is on the campus one-half mile north.
Stephen Arnold Douglas
Stephen A. Douglas was born in Brandon, Vermont, in 1813. He attended schools there and in New York State. In 1833 he settled in Winchester, Illinois, five miles southwest, where he taught school. In 1834 he moved to Jacksonville, eight miles northeast of here, and began to practice law. He soon became a leader of the Democratic Party in Illinois. He was elected Representative to the State Legislature in 1836, appointed Illinois Secretary of State in 1840, and elected Judge of the State Supreme Court in 1841.
After moving to Quincy, Douglas served as a representative in Congress from 1843 to 1847. He changed his residence to Chicago in 1847 and served in the United States Senate from 1847 until his death in 1861.
As an expansionist, Douglas favored acquisition of Oregon to 54 40' north latitude, annexation of Texas, and Federal grants for constructing a transcontinental railroad. The annexation of Texas led to the Mexican War and American acquisition of new western lands. The bills to organize this area into territories were included in the Compromise of 1850. Embodied in these bills and the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which Douglas introduced in 1854, was the doctrine of "Popular Sovereignty" -the idea that the people in each territory could decide the issue of slavery for themselves.
In the debates of the 1858 Senatorial campaign, Abraham Lincoln asked Douglas to reconcile "Popular Sovereignty" and the Supreme Court decision that slavery could not be barred from the territories. In reply Douglas advanced the Freeport Doctrine: That slavery could be excluded by local legislation. Douglas kept the Senate seat but lost southern support for his presidential candidacy in 1860.
Boles Trail, The
In 1825 Oliver W. Kellogg blazed a trail from Peoria to Galena which passed east of this site. On a spring day in the following year John Boles marked a shorter route near this point. The news of the Boles Trail spread and it became a heavily traveled route for the next three years.
The Indians called this area Nanusha (buffalo). The first settlers arrived here in 1829 and six years later a village, St. Marion, was laid out. About 1840 the name was changed to Buffalo Grove and the village prospered until 1855 when the railroad steamed through Polo. Naturalist John Burroughs taught here in 1856-1857.