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Sunday, October 22, 2017

History Timeline

Illinois Historical Events

4/8/1675

Father Marquette arrives at the village of the Kaskaskia tribe.


5/18/1675

Father Jacques Marquette, dies at age 37 in Ludington, Michigan after returning from a visit with Illinois Native Americans.


4/1/1703

In the month of April French Jesuits transfer their Illinois Indian mission from Des Peres (St. Louis) to a site near the mouth of the Kaskaskia River, founding the town of Kaskaskia.


7/4/1778

George Rogers Clark and about 175 men defeat the British at Kaskaskia and Illinois is organized as a county of Virginia.


2/25/1779

George Rogers Clark returns to Kaskaskia via the Wabash and Mississippi Rivers following his successful capture of Vincennes.


3/1/1784

Virginia relinquishes its claim to "Illinois County" to the United States Government, paving the way for territory to become part of the Northwest Territory some three years later.


7/13/1787

Congress passes the Ordinance of 1787, organizing the Northwest Territory, which includes the future state of Illinois.


4/27/1790

St. Clair County is organized, representing the first county organization in what would be the state of Illinois.


8/3/1795

Through the Treaty of Greenville, the U.S. government reserves certain locations for the construction of forts, including Chicago, Peoria, and the mouth of the Illinois River.


5/7/1800

Legislation creating the Indiana Territory, including Illinois, is approved by the U. S. Congress.


1/10/1801

William Henry Harrison, Governor of the Indiana Territory (which included Illinois) arrives at Vincennes, then the territorial capital.


3/26/1804

A U.S. land office is established at Kaskaskia, the first of 10 Illinois offices that would be responsible for selling land to settlers.


11/10/1808

Jesse W. Fell is born in southeastern Pennsylvania. Fell would move to McLean County and was instrumental in founding towns in the region, including Clinton, Dwight, Normal and Pontiac. He was also the driving force behind the foundation of the state's


2/3/1809

Congress formally establishes the Illinois Territory, taking in area that now includes Illinois and Wisconsin.


4/24/1809

Ninian Edwards of Kentucky is appointed the first territorial governor of the Illinois Territory.


12/16/1811

The great Missouri earthquake with an epicenter near New Madrid, Missouri, occurs at about 2:00 a.m. Among those recording their observations of this powerful earthquake felt as far away as Cincinnati, Ohio, and Charleston, South Carolina, is future Gove


5/20/1812

Illinois becomes a territory of the second grade, with suffrage for all white males over 21 who are taxpayers and have lived in the territory for 1 year.


8/15/1812

Native Americans attack U.S. troops and civilians during their evacuation of Ft. Dearborn, killing 52 of the evacuees.


9/14/1812

Gallatin County is established. The county was named for President Madison's Swiss-born secretary of the treasury at the suggestion of the registrar at the Vincennes land office.


8/24/1816

St. Louis treaty between the U.S. and the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomie, ceding a strip of land 20 miles wide and 100 miles long, that included the lower reaches of the Kankakee, Des Plaines, Du Page, and Fox Rivers.


12/31/1816

Crawford County is established, named for William Harris Crawford, a U.S. Senator from Georgia who served in President James Madison's Cabinet as secretary of war and secretary of treasury.


1/23/1818

Territorial senator Nathaniel Pope introduces a bill in Congress to establish the northern boundary of Illinois to 42°30' north latitude, taking in part of the Lake Michigan shoreline.


4/18/1818

Illinois Enabling Act is passed in Congress, providing for the organization of a state government, establishing the northern boundary of Illinois, and establishing a permanent school fund from a portion of public land sales proceeds.


8/26/1818

The Illinois Constitutional Convention adopts the first State Constitution and selects Kaskaskia as the first state capital while meeting at Kaskaskia.


10/6/1818

Shadrach Bond is inaugurated as the first Governor of Illinois. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Chester.


12/3/1818

Illinois enters the Union as the 21st state.


1/18/1819

Second session of the First General Assembly convenes at Kaskaskia. It would adjourn on March 31st.


3/10/1819

A meeting of the Jefferson County "commissioners," Lewis Barker, Ambrose Maulding and James Richardson meet at the home of William Casey to select the location for the County Seat--the site of the future Mt. Vernon being on land then also owned by William


11/1/1820

Vandalia is declared the capital of Illinois by an act of the General Assembly, replacing Kaskaskia. State government will meet here until 1837.


12/5/1822

Edward Coles is inaugurated as second Governor of Illinois. Prior to his arrival in the state in 1817, the Virginia planter freed his 19 slaves midway across the Ohio River into the Northwest Territory. Coles had once served as secretary to President J


2/24/1823

Canal commissioners are appointed by the General Assembly to lay out and survey a route for the (Illinois & Michigan) canal and to estimate costs.


8/6/1824

Illinois voters refuse to call a convention to legalize slavery in Illinois, with the antislavery forces being led by Governor Edward Coles.


12/23/1824

Clay County is established, named for Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, most notable for the Compromise of 1850. Abraham Lincoln greatly admired him and he was a family friend of Mary Todd Lincoln.


12/27/1824

Clinton County is established, named for DeWitt Clinton, the New York Senator and Governor who was primarily responsible for the Erie Canal's development.


5/14/1825

Revolutionary War hero General Lafayette visits Shawneetown and was entertained at the Rawlings House there. He had arrived in Kaskaskia on the steamer "Natchez" on April 30th and was the guest of honor there at a banquet at Sweet's Tavern and a ball at


1/19/1829

Macon County is established, named for Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives at the time.


7/29/1829

Potawatomie, Ottawa, and Chippewa Indians cede to the state 3,000+ square miles in Northern Illinois.


12/6/1830

John Reynolds is inaugurated as Governor. He later wrote a history of the state's early years from 1673 to 1818, the year of statehood. It was published in 1852.


12/24/1830

Christmas Eve marked the first snowstorm of this winter. Strong winds drifted the snow as high as a person could see, with settlers and animals perishing in the event that early settlers recalled as the "Deep Snow."


2/26/1833

Iroquois County is established, named for the Native American tribe who were involved in notable encounters with the Illinois tribe in the late-17th century.


3/7/1833

President Andrew Jackson appoints Abraham Lincoln postmaster of New Salem.


8/12/1833

Chicago's legal existence begins with the first meeting of the newly-elected Chicago Board of Trustees.


9/26/1833

The Potawatomi, Ottawa and Chippewa tribes relinquish all claims to territory in northeastern Illinois, marking the last Indian treaty affecting the state.


11/17/1834

William L. D. Ewing is inaugurated Governor to complete the unexpired term of John Reynolds.


12/19/1834

Jasper County's 1831 formation is approved. The county is named for a Revolutionary War hero Sergeant Jasper, who served in South Carolina and Georgia under General William Moultrie. Jasper and fellow soldier Sergeant Newton became the named heroes of a


2/17/1836

Abraham Lincoln finishes his survey of the town of Petersburg, which succeeded the town known as New Salem.


6/6/1836

Contracts were let for parts of the first section of the Illinois & Michigan Canal, from Chicago to Lockport.


6/20/1836

Lots on canal land in the Chicago region are auctioned, bringing in more than $1,300,000, mostly in promises to pay at a later date.


12/20/1836

Arriving at 10 am on the Illinois/Iowa border and making it to the border with Indiana at 6 pm, a tumultuous cloud and strong wind brought an end to unseasonably warm weather and turned melted snow to ice, freezing ducks and geese in the water. Cattle st


2/27/1837

An Internal Improvement Act is passed by the General Assembly calling for a statewide program of public works, including roads, railroads, and navigation of waterways, at state expense. This grand scheme collapses in 1841, leaving a huge state debt.


2/28/1837

Springfield is chosen as the site for the state capital by a vote of the 10th General Assembly.


11/7/1837

Elijah P. Lovejoy, editor of the abolitionist newspaper, the "Alton Observer," is killed by a mob in Alton.


10/27/1838

Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs issued Executive Order 44—also known as the Extermination Order. The all but forgotten order expelled the Mormon Church from the State of Missouri. Members of the Latter Day Saints community crossed the Mississippi River a


12/7/1838

Thomas Carlin is inaugurated as Governor. He was a Ranger during the War of 1812 and was instrumental in the founding of Greene County, serving as its first Sheriff. He is buried in Carrolton City Cemetery.


7/11/1840

Chicago's first legally executed criminal, John Stone was hanged for the rape and murder of Lucretia Thompson, a farmer's wife.


1/22/1842

Charles Dickens lands in Boston, Massachusetts, to begin his lecture tour of the U.S. Later in that year he visits both Cairo and the Looking Glass Prairie near Lebanon, staying at the Mermaid Inn while there.


2/15/1842

First train reaches Springfield on tracks of the Northern Cross Railroad.


12/8/1842

Thomas Ford takes office as Governor. He is remembered for his role in the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, after he encouraged them to face their accusers in Hancock County and then abandoned them to their fate. Ford worked hard to turn the state's fi


2/16/1843

Moultrie County is established, named for Revolutionary War general William Moultrie, later governor of South Carolina.


6/18/1844

Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, delivers his last public sermon. He and his brother Hyrum were murdered nine days later in the Carthage jail.


6/27/1844

Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, is murdered by a mob while being held in the Carthage jail.


2/4/1846

Brigham Young leads the Mormons out of Nauvoo on their trek west soon after the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in the Carthage Jail.


4/14/1846

Nine wagons carrying 15 men, 8 women, and 16 children depart from Springfield for California. George and Tamsen Donner, Jacob and Elizabeth Donner, and James and Margaret Reed all formed the nucleus of the group that would be known as the Donner-Reed Par


12/9/1846

Augustus C. French is inaugurated as Governor, distinguished as the last Governor to assume office in December. Following the adoption of the state's 2nd Constitution in 1848, terms of office would begin in January following the election year.


8/31/1847

The Constitutional Convention that resulted in the 1848 Illinois Constitution closes in Springfield. Debates of this convention are the feature of Volume 14 of the series known as the "Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library


3/5/1848

Second Illinois constitution is adopted, granting more power to the Governor and making all state and county offices subject to popular vote.


4/21/1848

Illinois & Michigan Canal opens from Ottawa to Chicago.


4/23/1848

The first boat makes its passage through the Illinois & Michigan Canal, which continues in operation through 1935.


2/10/1851

A charter is granted to the Illinois Central Railroad. This iconic company has been called the Main Line of Mid-America.


6/13/1851

The Northwest plank road is completed 2 1/2 miles beyond Colonel Anderson's at Niles, 14 miles from Chicago.


9/1/1851

Newton Bateman establishes the first free public high school in Illinois this month, the Jacksonville High School. He served as principal there until 1858.


7/16/1853

Construction is begun on the Rock Island railroad bridge over the Mississippi River between Illinois and Iowa.


10/11/1853

The first Illinois State Fair is held in Springfield, Oct. 11-13. It returns there the next year and is then held annually in different locations around Illinois until it is permanently set in Springfield in 1893.


3/15/1854

Ninian W. Edwards is appointed first superintendent of the newly-created Office of Public Instruction.


10/16/1854

At a speech delivered in Peoria, Abraham Lincoln explained his objections to the Kansas-Nebraska Act and resurrected his political career. Lincoln criticized popular sovereignty and questioned how it could supersede the Northwest Ordinance and the Missou


5/6/1856

The "Effie Afton" steamboat collides with the Rock Island Railroad Bridge on the Mississippi River, resulting in a lawsuit involving Abraham Lincoln as a defense attorney for the bridge company. Lincoln's team was successful.


5/29/1856

Bloomington is the site of the first Illinois Republican State Convention. John Charles Fremont will be named the first presidential candidate for the newly-fledged political party.


8/16/1856

John D. Campbell and James W. Carpenter, law partners in Polo, join Abraham Lincoln and Zenas Aplington in a drive by carriage to Oregon, Ogle County Seat. There Lincoln and "Long John" Wentworth, six-term Congressman and later Mayor of Chicago, were amo


10/20/1856

James Robert Mann is born near Bloomington. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1903 to 1922 and as House Minority Leader (Republican) from 1911 to 1919. Among other accomplishments, he is known for introducing the legislation that would


12/25/1856

Chicago's Union Stock Yards opens, setting the stage for the city to become "hog butcher to the world."


3/6/1857

US Supreme Court issues the Dred Scott decision, affirming the right of slave-owners to take their slaves into western territories. The doctrine of popular sovereignty was negated by this decision issued under the jurisdiction of Chief Justice Roger Tane


6/9/1857

At the first annual meeting of the Chicago Historical Society, it is reported that the Society held 3,577 bound volumes, yearly files of newspapers, 4,966 public documents, reports of institutions and similar pamphlets and broadsides, 101 charts in bound


8/21/1858

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas appear at Ottawa in the first of seven debates as Lincoln challenged Douglas's re-election to the U.S. Senate.


8/27/1858

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas appear at Freeport for the second of seven debates as Lincoln challenged Douglas for his Senate seat.


9/15/1858

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas appear at Jonesboro for the third of seven debates as Lincoln challenged Douglas for his Senate seat.


9/18/1858

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas appear at Charleston for the fourth of seven debates as Lincoln challenged Douglas for his Senate seat.


10/7/1858

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas appear at Galesburg for the fifth of seven debates as Lincoln challenged Douglas for his Senate seat.


10/13/1858

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas appear at Quincy for the sixth of seven debates as Lincoln challenged Douglas for his Senate seat. At the time, Quincy was a town of less than 10,000 residents, where the men met on the "Square," now Washington Park


10/15/1858

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas appear at Alton for the seventh and final debate as Lincoln challenged Douglas for his Senate seat.


10/19/1858

An ISHS historical marker in Brown County, just west of Ripley and 6 miles east of Mt. Sterling, honors the speech given here by Abraham Lincoln during his senate campaign against Stephen Douglas.


2/14/1859

George Washington Gale Ferris is born in Galesburg. His sketch of a wheel that carried riders high into the sky over the World's Columbian Exposition would be adopted on October 16, 1892, as America's answer to the Eiffel Tower. The same wheel was used


3/21/1860

John Wood succeeds Governor William H. Bissell, the first Illinois Governor to die while in office. He declined to run for governor later that year and was appointed Quartermaster General for the State of Illinois after the Civil War began in April, 1861


5/9/1860

The Illinois Republican State Convention is held in Decatur for two days. Abraham Lincoln receives his first endorsement for President of the United States as "The Railsplitter Candidate." Richard J. Oglesby introduced John Hanks, a relative of Lincoln,


8/25/1860

During the 1860 presidential campaign, the residents of Payson display banners supporting Democratic candidate, Stephen Douglas, and an effigy of Abraham Lincoln riding a rail. Two confrontations with the Quincy Wide Awakes on August 25–26, 1860 occur. S


9/6/1860

Jane Addams, is born in Chicago. On September 18, 1889, she and Ellen Gates Starr would found Hull House in Chicgo to aid poor immigrant families there.


2/21/1861

An act is passed by the Illinois General Assembly allowing married women to own and sell their own property.


1/15/1862

Dancer Loie Fuller is born in Fullersburg, Du Page County. A pioneer of modern dance, she embodied the Art Nouveau movement in Paris with acts such as her "Serpentine Dance."


2/20/1862

William Wallace "Willie" Lincoln died in the White House, likely from contracting typhoid fever.


2/23/1862

2,000 Confederate prisoners of war arrive at Camp Butler in Springfield following their capture at the Battle of Fort Donelson.


6/3/1863

Following General Order 84 (June 1) by General A. E. Burnside, a military detachment from Camp Douglas takes control of the "Chicago Times" facility in order to suppress anti-war commentary by the newspaper. Vigorous protests by prominent citizens of bot


3/28/1864

Rioting between supporters of the Union cause and local Copperheads (aka, Peace Democrats) occurs in Charleston. Six soldiers and 3 civilians were killed and another dozen people were wounded at the Coles County courthouse square. The New York "Times" r


8/29/1864

Chicago serves as the site for the Democratic National Convention and General George B. McClellan is nominated to run against President Abraham Lincoln.


2/1/1865

Illinois becomes the first state of the Union to ratify the 13th Amendment, outlawing slavery in the United States.


4/16/1865

An indignation meeting is organized in Bloomington on the courthouse square by local ministers. Between 5,000 and 7,000 people gathered to hear Rev. H. J. Eddy declare, "Resolved, That we recognize this deed as the crowning crime of this great slaveholde


3/8/1867

Avon in Fulton County is incorporated as a village. It was originally called Woodville in 1852 by its founders, but changed to Avon by the postmaster shortly thereafter.


6/8/1867

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright is born in Richland Center, Wisconsin. He joined the architectural firm of Adler and Sullivan in 1887 as an apprentice, leaving in 1893. Designs of his "Prairie School" architecture were used on commercial buildings and resi


11/26/1867

The University Library is founded in 1867 in the charter establishing the school that became the University of Illinois. The Library pre-dated the University. The first Library purchases at Illinois were approved at a meeting of the Trustees of the “Ill


3/2/1868

Illinois Industrial College is opened in Urbana, later known as the University of Illinois.


3/11/1868

Ground is broken for the construction of the new capitol building in Springfield, on the site once known as the Mathers block. J. C. Cochrane took most of the credit for the design, but the work is mostly that of his associates George Garnsey and Alfred


5/22/1868

The Republican National Convention in Chicago closes after Ulysses S. Grant is selected as the party's presidential candidate.


10/5/1868

The cornerstone for the new statehouse is laid. The building would be completed in 1888.


10/26/1868

Authorized by the General Assembly on March 7, 1867 the redesigned state seal is used on a document for the first time.


11/6/1868

Walter Loomis Newberry dies on a return trip from France for medical treatment. His bequest of $2.1 million would eventually result in the foundation of the Newberry Library on July 1, 1887.


1/11/1869

John M. Palmer is inaugurated as Governor. Palmer was a general in the Civil War and served one term as U.S. Senator beginning in 1890. His daughter, Jessie Palmer Weber was appointed 2nd librarian of the Illinois State Historical Library.


2/11/1869

1st Midwest Suffrage Convention held and the Illinois Woman Suffrage Association is formed, with Mary Livermore as president.


3/24/1869

An act is passed by the Illinois General Assembly allowing a married woman to receive, use, and possess her own earnings.


8/7/1869

The only total solar eclipse ever to cast its shadow over the Prairie State passed directly along a 156.7-mile-wide portion of central Illinois, including Springfield, and perfectly clear skies made it a phenomenal moment in state history.


8/8/1870

The new Illinois State Constitution goes into effect. It will be in effect for a century.


9/5/1870

Saint Ignatius College in Chicago holds its first classes. The Jesuit-founded school is rechartered as Loyola University in 1909.


3/23/1871

Peoria County representative Samuel Caldwell introduces a bill to provide for public support of libraries. It fails to reach a vote and the Great Chicago Fire the following autumn results in a gift from Thomas Hughes for the purpose of forming a public l


4/30/1871

Last Illinois & Michigan Canal bond is retired. The next day the Canal trust was dissolved and a board of commissioners assumed control of the I & M Canal.


10/8/1871

The Great Chicago Fire burns 3.5 square miles in the heart of the city, killing 300+ people and destroying $200 million in property.


3/22/1872

Illinois passes the first law in the country prohibiting discrimination in employment because of gender.


7/23/1872

The Illinois State Library completes its move to the New State Capitol.


8/13/1872

Greenville's incorporation as a city in Bond County is recorded. It was first incorporated February 15, 1855 and its post office was established in 1819.


9/16/1872

Barry's incorporation as a city in Pike County is recorded. It was first established February 19, 1859. Located nearby is the site of New Philadelphia, the first town in Illinois--and the U.S.--to be platted and registered by an African-American before


10/1/1872

Collinsville's incorporation as a city in Madison & St. Clair Counties is recorded. It was first incorporated February 15, 1855. It was settled by Anson, Augustus, Frederick, Michael, and William Collins in 1817 when they emigrated there from Litchfield


10/12/1872

Charleston's incorporation as a city in Coles County is recorded. It was first incorporated March 2, 1839. Shopkeeper, miller, and postmaster Charles Morton had donated the land for the county offices, resulting in the town being named for him.


10/22/1872

Anna's incorporation as a city in Union County is recorded. It was first incorporated February 16, 1865. When the town was laid out in 1853, it was one of many Illinois towns along the Illinois Central Railroad. The site was owned by Winston Davie, cou


11/25/1872

Bunker Hill in Macoupin County is incorporated as a city. It had previously been incorporated February 17, 1857. When it was settled by Moses True and John Tilden in 1835, it was named in honor of the Revolutionary War battle in Massachusetts.


1/13/1873

Richard J. Oglesby begins his second term as Governor. He resigns ten days later to become U.S. Senator for Illinois and John L. Beveridge takes his place as Governor.


5/31/1873

Alexis is established as a village in Mercer and Warren Counties. The name is changed from Alexandria in 1872 following a visit to Illinois by the Russian Grand Duke Alexis.


12/15/1873

Chrisman in Edgar County is incorporated as a city. The town's origins lie with the development of railroad lines in the area. Ross Township committed some $12,000 toward the establishment of right-of-way for the railroad. A line to connect Eastern Ill


5/5/1874

Edinburg in Christian County is incorporated as a village. Original settlements in the area were Blueville and Blue Point and the village assumed the name Edinburgh in 1870, changing it to Edinburg in 1893. Early county references to a town by this name


5/30/1875

A fire occurs in the Williamson County courthouse resulting in the destruction of many county records.


5/11/1876

Belleville's incorporation as a city in St. Clair County is recorded. It was first incorporated March 27, 1819 and takes its name from its founder who claimed it would be one of the most beautiful cities in America, giving it the French translation for "


7/20/1876

Galesburg's incorporation as a city in Knox County is recorded. It was first incorporated January 27, 1841.


9/11/1877

Alton's incorporation as a city is recorded. It was first established January 30, 1821. When Marquette and Jolliet passed the site of the future city in June, 1673, they took note of the Piasa petroglyphs on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi. The n


1/6/1878

Poet and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Carl Sandburg is born in Galesburg. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1940 for his "War Years" volume of his Abraham Lincoln biography and in 1951 for his "Complete Poems." Sandburg died July 22, 1967 in North Carolina an


7/10/1878

Bushnell's incorporation as a city in McDonough County is recorded. It was formerly incorporated February 16, 1865 after its founding in 1854. The village's namesake was the owner of the Northern Cross Railroad, the first railroad to operate in Illinois


8/9/1878

Byron in Ogle County is incorporated as a city. The settlement's name Bloomingville (later Bloomingdale) was thought to be too close to Bloomington, so Leonard Andrus suggested the name be changed around1838 in honor of George Gordon, Lord Byron, the Eng


5/24/1879

A charter is granted to the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, now known as the Art Institute of Chicago.


7/3/1879

DeWitt in DeWitt County is incorporated as a village. Governor DeWitt Clinton of New York was honored by this name as was the county seat Clinton.


8/22/1879

St. Joseph's Hospital in Highland is open to the public and admits its first patient in the two-story building built to accommodate 12 patients and a convent for the Hospital Sisters.


9/2/1879

Augusta's incorporation as a village in Hancock County is recorded. It was first incorporated February 24, 1859. One of the founders had lived for several years in the Georgia city of that name before coming to the area in 1832.


6/28/1881

Crainville in Williamson County is incorporated as a village. This settlement was a station on the Carbondale and Shawneetown Railroad and is named for early settler "Uncle Jep" Crain.


12/17/1881

Fayetteville's incorporation as a village in St. Clair County is recorded. It was first incorporated April 15, 1869. Nearby, on the north side of IL Route 15, midway to nearby Freeburg, is an Illinois State Historical Marker relating the story of the "


6/12/1883

Fieldon's incorporation as a village in Jersey County is recorded. It was first incorporated February 7, 1857.


6/23/1883

Illinois' first compulsory school attendance law is passed by the General Assembly.


4/7/1884

Greenfield's incorporation as a city in Greene County is recorded. It was first incorporated February 26, 1837.


1/30/1885

Richard J. Oglesby becomes the first person to be inaugurated Governor three times.


5/4/1886

Haymarket Riot results when a bomb is thrown at a squad of policemen breaking up a labor rally demonstration in Chicago. 31 people were rounded up and eight men were convicted in a controversial trial. Four of these men were excecuted.


6/1/1886

Captain Francis Jeffrey Dickens, 3rd son of Charles Dickens, visits Moline as the guest of Dr. A. W. Jamieson. He takes ill and dies shortly thereafter. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Moline.


6/11/1886

Captain Francis Jeffrey Dickens, 3rd son of Charles Dickens, dies in Moline, where he had been invited to speak about his father as the guest of Dr. A. W. Jamieson. Having fallen on difficult financial times, he served with the North-West Mounted Police


10/4/1886

St. John's School of Nursing is founded in Springfield, Illinois by the Sisters of St. John, eleven years after founding St. John's Hospital in the capital city.


12/28/1886

Josephine Garis Cochrane of Shelbyville receives the first US patent for a commercially successful dishwasher. Dishes fit in compartments in a wheel that turned inside a copper boiler. Her company eventually becomes KitchenAid. She and mechanic George Bu


4/22/1887

An F4 tornado occurs at 6:00 pm in Wabash County, near Mt. Carmel, killing five along its thirty-mile path.


8/10/1887

An excursion train carrying over 500 passengers leaves Peoria for Niagara Falls on the Toledo, Peoria & Western Railroad. After passing through Chatsworth the train came upon an oak trestle bridge that had ignited from a fire set to burn dried grass awa


5/8/1888

Amboy's incorporation as a city in Lee County is recorded. It was first established February 16, 1857, and was at one time known as Palestine Grove. Many stories surround the naming of this city, with the truth shrouded in the mists of the past.


5/25/1889

The General Assembly enacts legislation creating the Illinois State Historical Library. On this same date in 1877, the Illinois State Museum had been founded.


6/7/1890

Ladd in Bureau County is incorporated as a village. Originally called Osgood for the owner of the Whitebreast Fuel Company when a mining camp was established there, this coal mine town's population peaked at around 2,000 in the early 1920s before the coa


7/5/1890

Birds in Lawrence County is incorporated as a village, named after the landowner of the site, John Bird.


9/10/1890

A charter is granted establishing the University of Chicago.


4/6/1891

Ellen Martin of Lombard votes in the municipal election after discovering the town charter describes voters as citizens. The charter was quickly changed.


6/19/1891

Illinois women are given the right to vote in school board elections.


2/29/1892

Antioch's incorporation as a village in Lake County is recorded. It was first incorporated on February 16, 1857. The community took its name from the Asia Minor city where the disciples of Jesus were first called by the name Christian and its founders w


4/4/1892

Canton's incorporation as a city in Fulton County is recorded. It was first incorporated under the name February 8, 1849, and was founded in 1825 by Isaac Swan and Nathan Jones. It is named for Canton (Guangzhou) in southeastern China.


6/21/1892

Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois is nominated for Vice President at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, as running mate to Grover Cleveland. The convention closes on June 23.


5/1/1893

Worlds Columbian Exposition opens in Chicago, commemorating the 400th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America.


6/26/1893

Governor John Altgeld pardons Haymarket Anarchists, Samuel Fielden, Michael Schwab, and Oscar Neebe.


7/18/1893

First 18-hole golf course, the Chicago Golf Club, is incorporated in Wheaton, Illinois.


8/23/1893

Delaware and West Virginia Day is celebrated at the Worlds Columbian Exposition with Governors R. J. Reynolds of Delaware and W. A. MacCorkle of West Virginia present for the festivities. Peach growers from Delaware sent 750 baskets of peaches to be pass


10/21/1893

Manhattan Day at the Chicago World's Fair is marked with a program in Festival Hall in which the two metropolitan rivals declared a truce. Hundreds of New Yorker's crowded the Midway Plaisance and enjoyed a ride on that marvel that would become known as


10/30/1893

Worlds Columbian Exposition in Chicago closes. Some 20 million people had visited the "White City" to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus discovering the Americas.


1/27/1894

Fritz Pollard, the first African American professional football coach, is born in Chicago.


7/26/1894

Ava in Jackson County is established as a city. The settlement was first named Headquarters, but the name was changed to honor postmaster George W. Johnson's daughter Ava.


4/17/1895

Hennepin Canal is opened to traffic from the Mississippi River to a point just above the Rock River Falls.


12/18/1896

Austin High School and Oak Park girls basketball teams meet in the first interscholastic basketball contest in Illinois. Basketball in Illinois was first popular as a girls sport and they did not play with rules modified for girls. This would eventually


11/27/1897

110,000 spectators crowd into Soldier Field for the Army v. Navy game, which resulted in a tie at 21-21. It was also the day the field was officially dedicated as Soldier Field.


4/10/1899

Labor unrest in Pana erupts into a gun battle following coal mine owners' recruitment of African American coal miners from Alabama to work as "scabs" in area mines. These men were told they would be working in newly-opened mines instead of filling in for


4/11/1899

Free employment offices are established in cities with more than 50,000 citizens by the General Assembly.


5/19/1899

The Illinois State Historical Society is established.


7/21/1899

American author Ernest Hemingway is born in Cicero, now Oak Park. His family spent summers at a cabin in Michigan, where he learned to love hunting, fishing, and the outdoors. Hemingway served in World War I and worked as a journalist until he turned to


1/2/1900

Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal opens, connecting Lake Michigan with the Des Plaines River at Lockport, reversing the flow of the Chicago River.


2/5/1900

Governor Adlai Stevenson II is born in Los Angeles, CA, to Lewis and Helen (Davis) Stevenson. He was governor from 1949 to 1953 and ran for president in 1952. He died in London, England, in 1965.


9/28/1901

William Samuel Paley is born in Chicago to Ukrainian immigrant Samuel Paley and his wife Goldie (Drell). The son of an immigrant cigar maker, William would pioneer the concept of radio broadcast programming, incorporating the importance of advertising s


11/20/1901

After shakedown and training in Chesapeake Bay, the first Navy ship commissioned as the "USS Illinois" sails for Algiers, La., where she was used to test a new floating dry dock. This battleship ship was laid down in 1897 and continued in service under t


3/4/1902

American Automobile Association is formed in Chicago with about 1,000 members.


3/17/1902

The first mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Pawnee is celebrated in the church on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1902. The church building burned in 2013.


9/24/1902

This day marks official beginning of the school year for the students at Western Illinois State Normal School (now Western Illinois University). Students met in the auditorium to listen to an address by President Henninger before they begin their studies


5/15/1903

Illinois becomes the 1st state in the nation to establish an 8-hour work day and 48-hour work week for children under an improved law for the regulation of child labor.


6/2/1903

Bartonville in Peoria County is incorporated as a village. It was founded in 1881 on land owned by William C. H. Barton.


12/30/1903

A fire in Chicago's Iroquois Theater kills 571 people during a matinee performance of "Mr. Bluebeard." It was the deadliest theater fire in U.S. history, aggravated by the single entrance via a broad stairway designed to allow everyone attending the show


1/28/1904

Lettering in football is established by the University of Chicago when senior members of the team receive blankets with the letter "C" on them. The Maroons were a football power house from 1892 to 1939 and a founding member of the Big Ten Conference. Th


1/9/1905

Charles S. Deneen is inaugurated as Governor. Twenty years later he was elected to serve a single term in the U.S. Senate, defeating Joseph Medill McCormick for the Republican nomination.


4/3/1905

Mine explosion at Joseph Leiter's coal mine in Zeigler kills 49 miners. Leiter was reported to have led rescue parties into the coal mine.


5/13/1905

Distribution of a diphtheria antitoxin by the State Board of Health is authorized. This deadly disease claimed lives of rich and poor alike. Queen Victoria's daughter Alice succumbed to it in 1878 and President Grover Cleveland's 12-year-old daughter Ru


10/28/1905

Cherry in Bureau County is incorporated as a village. Just over four years later the 3rd worst coal mine disaster in the U.S. would occur, with some 256 men and boys losing their lives as a result of a fire that began November 13.


4/26/1907

Jamestown, Virginia, celebrates its 3rd century. The Tercentennial Exhibition includes the Illinois Building, which pays tribute to Abraham Lincoln and to the state's history. The exhibit closes December 1, 1907.


5/16/1907

A local option law regulating the consumption of alcoholic beverages is passed by the General Assembly.


10/24/1907

The Hennepin Canal is filled with water and opened for its entire length connecting the Mississippi River at Rock Island to the Illinois River near Hennepin in Putnam County. A sister canal to the I & M Canal, this waterway had 33 locks and was the first


8/14/1908

Two days of rioting in Springfield, Illinois, follow false accusations of rape by Mabel Hallam against an African American man named George Richardson. Over two days, a crowd of about 12,000 burned and looted in the African American neighborhoods, also l


10/10/1908

Chicago Cubs defeat Detroit Tigers 2-0 at Detroit's Bennett Park to win their second consecutive World Series. It would be the last World Series the team would win until 2016.


6/15/1909

A "Ten-Hour Law" for working women passes in the General Assembly and is later upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court.


11/13/1909

The Cherry Coal Mine in Bureau County, Illinois, is the scene of the nation's 3rd deadliest mine disaster. A burning torch ignited hay for the coal mine's mules, touching off an explosion that killed 259 of the 500 men and boys working in the coal mine.


2/8/1910

William D. Boyce (1858-1929) founds the Boy Scouts of America in Ottawa. Boyce became wealthy through his journalistic endeavors, including founding the Mutual Newspaper Publishing Company in Chicago, which catered to a rural audience. He was a strong s


3/9/1910

A direct primary law is passed by the General Assembly, after three previous attempts were declared unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court. This type of legislation lessened the system of choosing party candidates by caucuses and conventions thro


7/1/1910

After nine years in the South Side Grounds, Charles Comiskey starts construction on his new "Baseball Palace of the World" at the corner of 35th Street and Shields Avenue. White Sox Park opens there in 1910, but soon became known as Comiskey Park. It is


12/22/1910

A fire breaks out in Warehouse 7 of Chicago's Union Stockyards shortly after 4 am. By the time the blaze was extinguished at 6:37 am on December 23, 50 engine companies and seven hook and ladder companies had been called to the scene. 21 firemen, includ


2/6/1911

President Ronald Reagan is born in Tampico.


6/5/1911

Illinois becomes the first state in the nation to pass "mothers' aid" legislation, providing a fund for the care of dependent and neglected children.


6/10/1911

The Starved Rock State Park Bill becomes law, and the park is transferred to state control by year's end.


11/22/1911

Alfred Tennyson Dickens, son of Charles Dickens, visits East St. Louis, Belleville and Lebanon, stopping at the "Looking Glass Prairie," which his father had visited in 1842.


11/30/1911

Charles Dickens' son, Alfred Tennyson Dickens pays a 2-day visit to Cairo. One month later, he died at Astor House in New York. Like his brother Francis, this son of the famous author is buried in the U.S.


2/2/1912

Architect C. H. Blackall creates a plan locating the Armory on the University of Illinois campus at its present location on 5th Street. The original location on the east side of Mathews Street had threatened the historic Morrow plots and was opposed by t


8/5/1912

Theodore Roosevelt is nominated for President at the first National Convention of the Progressive Party in Chicago, held August 5-7.


1/7/1913

William H. Burton of Chicago patented the procedure to make gasoline.


7/6/1915

Illinois adopts its first state flag, with a modified version including the word "Illinois" being adopted July 1, 1970.


7/24/1915

The excursion steamer Eastland capsizes as it leaves its wharf, killing 812 of the 2,000 people on board. The passengers were the employees and their families of Western Electric, on their way to the company picnic in Michigan City.


11/15/1915

The first annual conference of the Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives is held in Decatur. The official name of the organization adopted at that meeting was "Illinois Commercial Secretaries Association."


4/20/1916

The first National League baseball game at Weeghman Park (later Wrigley Field) is played and the Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-6 in 11 innings . A bear cub was in attendance at the game. The first National League game played was played there 2 years ea


5/2/1917

A baseball game becomes a pitching duel between the Cubs' Jim "Hippo" Vaughn and the Reds' Fred Toney . Both pitchers throw no-hitters for 9.0 innings before Cincinnati's Jim Thorpe (of Olympic fame) drives in the only run in the 10th inning. Toney fini


5/28/1917

An Illinois Central Railroad relief train rushed through central Illinois shortly after a devastating tornado struck Coles County. Two coaches and a caboose are filled with surgeons and nurses and brief stops are made along the way to pick up additional m


2/22/1918

Robert Wadlow is born in Alton, Illinois. He holds the record for the tallest human being and suffered from hyperplasia of the pituitary gland. At the time of his death at age 22, he was 8'11.1" tall and weighed 439 lbs. His growth had not stopped.


11/5/1918

Illinois voters approve the first bond issue of $60 million for a statewide construction of hard roads, "pulling Illinois out of the mud."


6/17/1919

General Assembly passes the Illinois Deep Waterways Act to provide for dams and locks from Lockport to Utica.


7/27/1919

A serious race riot erupts in Chicago and lasts until August 3rd, leading to the deployment of the Illinois National Guard. The riot stemmed from an incident occurring when an African-American teenager swimming in Lake Michigan violated the unmarked "col


11/23/1921

A football game between the semi-professional teams of Taylorville and Carlinville is played, in which the players in the second half were substituted for University of Illinois players for Taylorville opposing Notre Dame players for Carlinville. Taylorv


6/22/1922

The second day of violence wraps up in the "Herrin Massacre," during a general coal strike. Miners and strikebreakers fought each other at the Lester strip mine, leaving 18 dead.


9/30/1922

A. E. Staley opens his soybean crushing plant in Decatur, the first commercial soybean-processing plant.


12/12/1922

Illinois voters reject a proposal submitted by the Constitutional Convention. It would be almost 50 years before the state would adopt a new Constitution.


1/3/1924

An explosion occurs at the Corn Products Refining Plant in Pekin and 42 people lose their lives.


10/9/1924

Municipal Grant Park Stadium opens to the public. Within one year it would be renamed Soldier Field.


10/18/1924

"Red" Grange (1904-1991), the "Galloping Ghost" scores four touchdowns in 12 minutes against the University of Michigan defense at the University of Illinois' new Memorial Stadium.


11/4/1924

Illinois voters approve the second bond issue of $100 million for construction of hard roads.


1/12/1925

Governor Len Small begins his second term, in spite of editorials that he was "the worst governor Illinois ever had." Governor Small called for improvements to the Illinois highway system, associating him with the building program proposed to "pull Illin


3/18/1925

Tri-State Tornado forms at 1 pm near Ellington, MO, and travels 219 miles until it dissipates near Petersburg, IN at 4:30 pm. At 73 mph from Gorham, MO to Murphysboro, IL, the F-5 tornado killed a record 234 people there. The lowest barometric pressure


3/31/1925

A fire destroys the "German Building" in Jackson Park, Chicago. It had been a prominent venue during the Worlds Columbian Exposition, but was in very poor repair some 32 years later.


4/25/1925

Chicago's first Woman's World's Fair closes its successful eight day pageant, which had been opened on April 18th by President Calvin Coolidge over the radio.


10/31/1925

"Red Grange ran for 363 yards and three touchdowns, as the University of Illinois beat Pennsylvania, 24-2, at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.


11/11/1925

Municipal Grant Park Stadium is officially renamed Soldier Field at the urging of Chicago’s Gold Star Mothers.


11/21/1925

Red Grange plays his final game as a half back for the University of Illinois before signing with the Chicago Bears. He was inducted into the football Hall of Fame January 29, 1963.


12/13/1925

Actor Dick Van Dyke is born in West Plains Missouri. By the time his younger brother Jerry is born in July, 1931, the family has relocated to Danville.


2/13/1926

Charles Lindbergh flies into Springfield to meet with postmaster William H. Conkling to locate and establish a landing field.


3/29/1926

300 acres of land south of Salt Creek near Riverside is donated to the Chicago Forest Preserve District by Edith Rockefeller McCormick for the establishment of Brookfield Zoo.


4/9/1926

Charles Lindbergh returns to Springfield to test time schedule for air mail delivery and to secure permission to land on William Bosa's farm, 4 miles west of Springfield on Jefferson Road.


11/12/1926

The first recorded aerial bombing on US soil takes place in Williamson County during a feud between rival liquor gangs, the Sheltons and the Birgers. Charlie Birger ordered an attack on a Shelton associate's home. The Sheltons quickly retaliated by hiri


4/19/1927

Annie Louise Keller is killed by a tornado that ravaged rural Greene County. She had graduated from Whitehall High School in 1920 and was in her 3rd year teaching at the rural Centerville school. At 12:18 p.m., the tornado struck and tore off the upper


6/29/1927

A motor fuel tax of 2 cents a gallon is established to support the construction and repair of roads and bridges.


7/28/1927

A small excursion boat, the "Favorite" is cruising from Lincoln Park to Municipal (Navy) Pier when it capsizes a half mile off North Avenue in a sudden squall. Fifty passengers are rescued, but 27 perish.


9/23/1927

A crowd of 104,000 filled Soldier Field for the epic Jack Dempsey/Gene Tunney heavyweight rematch. Dempsey knocked down Tunney, going to the wrong corner. The referee directed him to the right corner, starting the count after five seconds had passed. Tun


3/19/1928

"Amos 'n' Andy Show" is first broadcast by WMAQ in Chicago. This popular radio comedy (1928-1960) was set in the historic African American Harlem, Manhattan, New York and was created, written, voiced by two white actors, Freeman Gosden and Charles Correl


11/16/1928

Eureka College is the site of a midnight chapel meeting of students, held as a result of President Bert Wilson's proposal to reduce academic offering due to economic hardship. A freshman from Dixon, Ronald "Dutch" Reagan, gave a pro-strike speech, persua


1/14/1929

Louis L. Emmerson is inaugurated Governor. A banker by profession, he served for 12 years as Secretary of State. His term in office was marked by the effects of the Great Depression, during which the first unemployment compensation coverage was establis


1/17/1929

Popeye the Sailor Man is introduced in Chester resident Elzie Crisler Segar's comic strip, "Thimble Theatre," published by King Features. The strip's name would later be changed to simply "Popeye."


6/4/1929

Cardinals are designated the official state bird. Other birds receiving votes from Illinois school children were the bluebird, meadowlark, quail, and oriole. Once considered quite rare in northern Illinois, the Northern Cardinal is now commonly seen thr


6/24/1930

Voters approve Willis Spaulding's $2.5 million bond issue to begin the construction of Lake Springfield, which would be accomplished through damming Sugar Creek. Many jobs were created during the Depression years as a result of this project and the city


10/17/1931

Gangster Al Capone is sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion and fined $80,000, signaling the downfall of one of the most notorious criminals of the 1920s and 1930s. Heading the prosecution team in the Northern District of Illinois was future G


12/10/1931

Hull House founder Jane Addams is the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


12/21/1932

The first official meeting of the University of Illinois and University of Missouri basketball teams at Brewer Field House in Columbia. The Illinois defeated the Tigers 36-24, and would repeat this win with this score the following year. Beginning in 19


1/21/1933

William Wrigley is born in Chicago to Philip K. and Helen (Atwater) Wrigley. He was President of the chewing gum company from 1961 until his death in 1999.


5/27/1933

A Century of Progress International Exposition opens in Chicago to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the city. It will close November 13, 1933.


6/25/1933

A retailers' occupation tax of 2 percent is passed by the General Assembly.


2/19/1934

Fire destroys the Illinois State Arsenal in Springfield and the state's files stored there. Ten days later a 10-year-old boy admitted to Governor Henry Horner that he set the fire because he liked to see buildings burn.


5/21/1935

Jane Addams dies at the age of 74, in Chicago, Illinois. Today, she is remembered not only as a pioneer in the field of social work, but as one of the nation's leading pacifists.


7/9/1935

An act codifying traffic regulations, including setting a "reasonable and proper" speed is signed into law by Governor Henry Horner.


10/14/1936

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's whistle-stop re-election tour pulls into Bloomington's Union Station to be greeted by 20,000 area residents crowding the Chicago & Alton Railroad tracks. He defeated challenger Alf Landon in one of the most lopsided


6/30/1937

Unemployment compensation act is passed by the General Assembly. The following day, an eight hour work day is mandated for women.


9/21/1937

The beginning of fall in Illinois marks an excellent time to plant trees, shrubs and vines. This month Bill Veeck strings bittersweet from the top of the Wrigley Field wall to the bottom and plants ivy at the base of the wall, establishing the iconic ivy


1/16/1938

Bennie Goodman, born in Chicago in 1909, and Gene Krupa record jazz on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York City.


7/31/1939

The first board meeting for the village of Grandview, just south of Springfield, is held. Its incorporation had taken place June 3rd.


3/30/1940

Bedford Park in Cook County is incorporated as a village. The town was established in 1920 as a company town for the makers of Argo Starch, the Corn Products Corporation.


4/5/1940

St. Anthony's Hospital in Effingham burns, killing 77 people. The building was sixty years old.


7/15/1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt is nominated for his third term as President at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.


7/25/1940

The Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago is created by the consolidation of the Lewis Institute and the Armour Institute of Technology.


4/28/1941

Congressman Arthur Mitchell (D-Illinois) successfully argues to the U.S. Supreme Court that African-Americans were entitled to railroad accommodations equal to white passengers. He had been forced to give up his first-class accommodations for a “Jim Crow”


3/3/1942

The YMS-1 class auxiliary motor minesweeper "YMS-84," the first WWII naval vessel built in Illinois is launched on the Chicago River. It was built at the Henry C. Grebe & Co. shipyard. "YMS-84" cruised down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico and thro


3/16/1942

Seventeen people are reported killed and 110 people hurt in one of the most violent tornadoes to strike central Illinois. This is the last F5 tornado to hit the state and is part of a two-day outbreak that also affected the states of Indiana, Kentucky, M


9/12/1942

Governor Dwight Green and his wife christen the mobile crime laboratory of the Illinois State Police in Chicago. It is a milestone for all law enforcement personnel in the science of criminal detection investigation. Included are a mobile laboratory with


11/24/1942

Three German-Americans and their wives are sentenced in Chicago federal court in the first treason trial ever held in Illinois. The men are sentenced to death and the women to fine and imprisonment.


12/2/1942

Enrico Fermi directs the world's first controlled nuclear reaction at the University of Chicago.


5/26/1943

Team rosters are announced for the 1943 season of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League after some 10 days of try-outs organized by Philip K. Wrigley. One of the four teams of the league was Illinois' own Rockford Peaches. Women's baseball


12/26/1944

Tennessee Williams' play "The Glass Menagerie" is first performed publicly, at the Civic Theatre in Chicago, IL.


11/19/1945

American Airlines inaugurates weekly airline service from Chicago to London.


1/25/1947

Al Capone dies in Florida. Born in New York in 1899 to immigrant parents, Alphonse "Scarface" Capone's 7-year reign as crime boss of the Chicago Outfit ended when he was 33, with a prison sentence for tax evasion. His role in the St. Valentine's Day Mas


3/25/1947

Centralia Coal Mine No. 5 in Wamac was the scene of an explosion that killed 111 men in the coal mine. Coal dust exploded at 3:27 p.m. and fire flashed through the mine's tunnels and deadly gas accumulated there. The mine had opened in 1908.


4/13/1948

An early version of the device known now as a polygraph is tested on Norman J. Lee of the Investigation Bureau of Illinois. It was developed by Leonarde Keeler.


1/24/1949

John Belushi is born in Chicago. This actor and comedian rose to national fame on Saturday Night Live (1975-1979), but he began his rise to fame in 1971 at "Second City" in Chicago where he perfected his raucous and physical style of humor. Belushi died


1/31/1949

"These Are My Children" airs in Chicago for the first time, marking the debut of daytime soap operas. Air time was 15 minutes, 5 times a week. The show aired until February 25, 1949.


3/14/1950

Lewis Fablinger of Downers Grove, the last Civil War veteran in the state, dies at age 103.


7/19/1952

Governor Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois is nominated for President at the Chicago Democratic National Convention, with John J. Sparkman of Alabama running for Vice-President.


11/14/1953

WCIA-TV channel 3 in Champaign, IL (CBS) begins broadcasting.


4/15/1955

Ray Kroc opens the first McDonald's restaurant in Des Plaines. He had visited Dick and Mac McDonald's small restaurant in San Bernardino, California in 1954 as a Multimixer salesman. Their small menu of burgers, fries, and drinks allowed them to concent


5/17/1955

"Land of Lincoln" is approved as the official state slogan. It had first appeared on Illinois license plates the previous year.


6/16/1955

The first successful Reapportionment Act since 1901 creates 58 Senate districts and 59 House districts that will be reapportioned following each decennial census.


8/1/1955

WILL-TV begins broadcasting as part of the Public Broadcasting System from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.


8/17/1956

The National Democratic Convention in Chicago closes on its 5th day, with the nomination of Adlai E. Stevenson for President. His running mate is Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee. Stevenson had served as Governor from 1949 to 1953.


9/22/1956

Governor Stratton officially breaks ground on the first Illinois toll road near Rockford.


2/9/1957

Argonne National Laboratory turns on the nation's first nuclear power generator.


4/29/1959

Governor Stratton approves a bill making daylight savings time uniform throughout Illinois.


10/25/1959

Senator John F. Kennedy gives a speech at the Egyptian Theatre in Downtown DeKalb in front of a packed house.


7/2/1961

Illinois native Ernest Hemingway dies by suicide at his home in Idaho. The renowned 20th century novelist had won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 for "The Old Man and the Sea."


12/11/1961

Channahon in Will County is incorporated as a village. By tradition its name is an Algonquian term for "where the waters meet," likely referring to the convergence of the Du Page and Des Plaines Rivers.


1/1/1962

Illinois coal mining companies are required to restore land following strip-mining operations.


12/29/1963

Some 45,800 fans jam Wrigley Field to watch the Chicago Bears defeat the New York Giants, 14-10, in the NFL Championship game. The coverage of the game was blacked out locally and some 26,000 fans watched in warm comfort at McCormick Place, the Amphithea


7/7/1965

Fluorite is designated as the official state mineral. In Illinois, it is mined almost exclusively in Pope and Hardin Counties in an area known as the Illinois-Kentucky Fluorspar Mining District. It comes in all colors and some samples glow under ultra-


9/20/1965

WXXW (now WYCC) TV channel 20 in Chicago, IL (PBS) begins broadcasting.


9/25/1965

Ground is broken at the Chicago Botanical Garden. By the next summer a drainage system had been completed to carry effluent from the Lake County sewage-treatment plant a distance of one mile to an aqueduct providing clean water for the garden.


7/14/1966

Eight student nurses at the South Chicago Community Hospital are murdered in their group residence by Richard Speck following a break-in. One woman, Corazon Amurao survived by hiding under a bed until the next morning. He was caught after a suicide atte


8/20/1966

Three people die and 38 more are injured when a catwalk falls during preparations for a Green Beret demonstration. Killed were photographers from California and Missouri and Ralph Heger, stage manager for the fair shows. It was believed the catwalk had


12/14/1966

The Weather Bureau office in Springfield discontinues its pilot balloon (pibal) observation program.


1/26/1967

A historic snowstorm occurs in Chicago, dumping 23" on the Windy City. The storm delivered 50 mph winds and 15 foot high drifts as part of the largest single snowfall recorded in Chicago's history.


6/14/1967

Hull House is restored and declared a national historic landmark by the federal government.


7/22/1967

Illinois poet and Lincoln historian Carl Sandburg dies at his home in North Carolina at age 89.


1/8/1968

Gwendolyn Brooks is named poet laureate of Illinois, a role that remained hers until her death in 2000. Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas, but lived most of her life in Chicago, bringing her perspective to life there through her poetry. For the state ce


2/12/1968

6-cent Illinois statehood stamp is issued in Shawneetown as part of the state's sesquicentennial celebration.


5/23/1968

The Morrow Plots at the University of Illinois are added to the National Register of Historic Places. It was established in 1876 as the first experimental corn field at an American college and continues to be used today, although with three plots of much


11/9/1968

An earthquake measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale occurs, the largest recorded earthquake ever to occur in Illinois. Its origin was later determined to be in the Southern Illinois Basin. Determining its cause, scientists discovered and named the Cottage


11/28/1968

First women's liberation conference is held in Chicago (November 28-30).


3/20/1969

Eight police officers and eight demonstrators are indicted on federal criminal charges by a federal grand jury stemming from disturbances during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in the summer of 1968.


9/7/1969

Everett M. Dirksen, longtime Republican Senator from Illinois, dies at age 83.


10/2/1969

Fairview Heights in St. Clair County is incorporated as a city. An attempt to change the name to Lincoln Heights in 1965 by the county Board of Supervisors was stiffly opposed. A public referendum was held and the name Fairview Heights incorporated the


1/20/1970

Kaskaskia Island, site of the state's first capital, is declared to be part of Illinois by the U.S. Supreme Court.


2/18/1970

Five of the celebrated "Chicago 7" defendants are found guilty of crossing state lines to incite a riot. Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner were charged for their anti-Vietnam war protest h


5/12/1970

Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, hits his 500th career home run off of Atlanta Braves' pitcher Al Jarvis.


9/3/1970

Illinois' Sixth Constitutional Convention (popularly called "Con Con") adjourns with ceremonies at the Old State Capitol.


7/30/1971

Union Stock Yards in Chicago closes after 106 years as the center of the meat packing industry. Peaking in 1924, this facility was operated by a group of railroad companies, with more meat being processed here than anywhere in the world. The "Yards" was


8/18/1971

President Richard Nixon signs the bill accepting the Lincoln Home as a national historic site. It had been donated to Illinois by Robert Todd Lincoln in 1887 with the restriction that the home always be free and open to the public.


9/19/1971

The Chicago Bears move to Soldier Field as a regular season home. Chicago defeats the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-15 before capacity crowd of 55,701 in the Bears’ first game since moving from Wrigley.


7/8/1972

A Neo-Nazi Party demonstration in Berwyn leads to a clash with the Jewish Defense League.


5/3/1973

The top of the Sears Tower is completed at 1,454', making it the world's tallest building at the time. Located at 233 S. Wacker Drive, this Chicago skyline icon is now known as the Willis Tower.


9/17/1973

General Assembly action refines the official tree of Illinois from "native oak" to White Oak.


4/2/1975

Beginning at midnight, a mixture of snow, sleet and rain accompanied by lightning and thunder, falls on Chicago, leaving 11" at O'Hare and 9.75" at Midway Airport. The snow did not melt until April 11th.


8/19/1975

Monarch butterflies are designated as the official state insect.


7/17/1976

Race riots erupt in Chicago over the integration of the all-white Marquette Park, injuring 33 people.


3/27/1977

More than 5 inches of rain in 12 hours soaks Marion and leads to flash flooding in the city, inundating some areas in more than 6 feet of water.


11/2/1977

Microbiologist Carl R. Woese and scientists from the University of Illinois announce the identification of methanogens, a form of microbial life (Archaea) dating back some 3.5 billion years.


3/13/1980

John Wayne Gacy, Jr., is convicted of murdering 33 young men between 1972 and 1978.


8/30/1980

The Hambletonian Stakes harness race was held in Du Quoin for the last time, with Burgomeister winning the race. It had relocated from Goshen, New York, in 1957 and moved from Du Quoin to its current venue at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jerse


1/4/1981

A 15-cent postage stamp honoring U.S. Senator Everett M. Dirksen is issued at his birthplace in Pekin in honor of his birth there in 1896.


12/4/1982

Pontiac, on the Vermilion River, has the worst flood in the history of the town, with the river cresting at 19.16 feet.


1/5/1983

Mike Ditka, coach of the Chicago Bears, is fired.


4/12/1983

Harold Washington is elected first African-American mayor of Chicago.


9/9/1984

Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears breaks Jim Brown’s combined yardage record upon reaching 15,517 yards.


9/8/1985

Pete Rose singles off Cubs' pitcher Reggie Patterson and ties Ty Cobb's record for 4,191 career hits.


2/7/1990

The Riverboat Gambling Law goes into effect. The Alton Belle is launched on the Mississippi River in September, 1991.


8/28/1990

Plainfield High School and a nearby apartment building are destroyed by a tornado, killing 27 people in the state's second-deadliest storm.


9/4/1991

The bluegill is named the official state fish. It is the most common member of the sunfish family and is found throughout Illinois and was selected by the school children of the state in 1986.


11/3/1992

Carol Moseley-Braun is the first African-American woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate.


11/18/1992

The Centennial Building on the grounds of the Capitol Complex in Springfield is renamed in honor of Michael J Howlett. He served three terms as State Auditor and one term as Secretary of State (1961-1976). The Auditor of Public Accounts was the predecess


11/29/1993

"Abe Lincoln in Illinois" opens at the Beaumont Theater in New York City for 40 performances. Robert Sherwood's script first played on Broadway in the 1930s and the film version directed by John Cromwell was released in 1940. Raymond Massey's performanc


5/10/1994

John Wayne Gacy is executed for murdering 33 young men and boys. He had been convicted of this crime spree in Chicago on March 12, 1980.


11/8/1994

Judy Baar Topinka is elected to serve as State Treasurer, the first woman to hold that post.


7/12/1995

Navy Pier reopens with a 148-foot-high Ferris Wheel. Five million visitors are recorded in its first year.


9/27/1995

The NWS office in Lincoln begins full-time operations, covering 10 counties previously covered by the Peoria NWS office, and 18 counties covered by the Springfield office. These offices are officially closed. Additionally, 2 counties are transferred to


10/3/1999

The Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery located near Joliet in Will County is dedicated as the 117th national cemetery within the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.


8/2/2001

Drummer silty clay loam is designated as the official state soil. More than 1.7 million acres of Drummer soil have been mapped in more than a third of Illinois' 102 counties. They qualify as prime farmland and are some of the most productive soils in the


9/29/2003

The Chicago Bears play their first game in the renovated Soldier Field. They are defeated by the Green Bay Packers by a score of 38-23 with a crowd of over 60,000 in attendance.


8/4/2004

Popcorn becomes the official state snack food. 333 Illinois farms grow 47,000 acres of popcorn, making Illinois the third largest producer of popcorn in the nation.


10/23/2005

Lou Rawls gave his last performance when he performed the national anthem of the United States to start Game Two of the 2005 World Series in Chicago between the Chicago White Sox and the Houston Astros. Chicago had home field advantage over the Astros an


3/12/2006

Twin tornadoes touch down in Springfield, causing extensive damage to businesses and homes, but no lives are lost.


9/13/2008

Two days of heavy rain begin, resulting in severe flooding in northeastern Illinois, including the Des Plaines River, North Branch Chicago River, West Branch Du Page River, East Branch Du Page River, Du Page River, Johnny Run and Illinois River. The U.S.


1/29/2009

Governor Rod Blagojevich is removed from office following a unanimous vote by the Illinois Senate, following a historic impeachment vote by the House.


8/11/2016

A victory over the St. Louis Cardinals gives the Cubs their 10th win in a row, the longest winning streak for the team since 2001, when they won 12 straight from May 19-June 2. Nine of the games had occurred in August, making it their winningest August s


10/29/2016

The USS Illinois is commissioned in Groton, Connecticut and joins the Navy fleet. She is a 13th Virginia Class nuclear submarine and is only the second Navy Ship to carry the name since a battleship so named was commissioned in 1897. First Lady Michelle


11/1/2016

U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, is renamed Guaranteed Rate Field.


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