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