Sunday, April 14, 2024

Historical Markers

Historical Markers

The Illinois State Historical Society’s markers program is designed to recognize sites of national or statewide significance, thereby increasing public awareness and appreciation of our state’s rich historical legacy. Since 1934, the Society has commemorated over 400 such sites describing persons, events, and other subjects important to Illinois’ cultural heritage. The Society relies on individuals who are passionate about their local history and are willing to help in the placement of markers, often covering historically significant subjects that might otherwise remain obscure.


Historical markers can be co-sponsored by various local organizations, such as historical societies, churches, schools, businesses, municipalities, or other interested entities.
Sponsors assume responsibility for the following:

  • Completing and submitting the application with supporting documentation.
  • Financing the marker.
  • Acquiring permission from the property owner for placement of the marker on its selected site, whether publicly or privately owned.
  • Submitting a proposed draft of the marker narrative.
  • Installing the marker in a professional manner at the chosen site.
  • Insuring the long-term maintenance of the marker and site.
  • Planning and conducting an appropriate dedication ceremony.

General Guidelines

The subject matter of the proposed marker, although it may be of a locally prominent nature, must also have statewide or national significance.

It is important to provide primary evidence to document facts that are not already common knowledge. Acceptable documentation may include, but is not limited to, land records, contemporary newspaper articles and journal entries, autobiographies, and archeological reports.

Failure to provide appropriate documentation will delay the process.

Please provide precise information detailing the exact site where the marker is to be placed and include proof of the owner’s permission for permanent location at that site.

Application Process

Local sponsors should first discuss the proposed subject with a Society representative to determine its eligibility for the program. Following this, a $500 non­refundable administrative fee must accompany the application and supporting documentation. 

The Society then conducts a historical review and analysis of the material. If the marker proposal is accepted, the Society will work with the sponsor to edit the narrative and oversee marker production. Submission to the foundry is subject to the Society’s final approval of the marker text.

Complete payment to the Society must be made before the order is sent to the foundry. Production time takes six to eight weeks.

Size and Cost

Two marker sizes are available. The smaller is 29" x 40. 5", accommodates 100 words, and costs $2,184. The larger marker is 44" x 51", has room for 250 words, and costs $3,823. The price for a pole (if needed) is $300. These costs do not reflect crating and shipping prices. Marker sponsors should check with the Society before submitting an application as foundry prices for the markers are subject to change.

Each marker is made of cast aluminum. In addition to the narrative, the marker contains the name of the sponsor(s), the Society’s name and logo, and the year when the marker was dedicated.

county map

Click on the image
above to go to a click-able map of counties

county map

Click on the image
above to go to see markers near you.

Donate toward a marker

Click on the image
to learn about donating toward a marker.

Download marker application

Click on the image
to download the marker application form.

Illinois State Historical Society   |   Strawbridge-Shepherd House   |   PO Box 1800   |   Springfield, IL 62705-1800

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