Illinois March 23, 2016
11 Historic Towns In Illinois That Will Transport You To The Past
It’s getting to be that time when we start planning summer trips. Why not get more for your miles and head to some towns filled with history? These are some of the most historic towns in Illinois.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
Springfield actually wasn't the first state capital. But it's now the capital, and it's seen a lot of history. Its most famous resident was Abraham Lincoln, and you can see his imprint everywhere. Make sure to check out the presidential museum, his home, and his tomb.
So it was actually Kaskaskia that was Illinois' first capital. It was settled by fur traders and was under French rule for several years. You can still see a bell there that was donated by Louis XV. In one of the most western battles of the Revolutionary War, Americans were victorious and rang that donated bell to signal victory.
Peoria is actually the oldest European settlement in Illinois. It was settled in 1680 by French settlers. The fort burned down, became Fort Clark, and then was renamed Peoria.
580 acres of the city are on the National Register of Historic Places. Yes, you read that right. It was the site of the first big mineral rush in the United States, and this put it on the map. It was the home of Ulysses S. Grant and eight other Civil War generals.
Champaign wasn't chosen to be the home of the flagship university by accident. The town was founded in 1855. Just off the railroad, the population swelled. Abraham Lincoln visited the town.
Alton has been a huge part of history, from being the home of the world's tallest person to its role in the Civil War. It was the birthplace of Miles Davis. And it was the site of the last debate between Douglas and Lincoln. There are plenty of monuments commemorating these events.
Boy, will this German town bring you back. The town was founded in 1852 by - you guessed it - Mr. Maeys. German immigrants founded the town, and that's reflected in the architecture and other styling around town. Many of the old buildings are still standing.
8. Long Grove
Long Grove embraces its history and the town has very strict rules to preserve it. The historic downtown is full of old, beautifully preserved buildings.
Rockford was settled in the 1830s. It was on the map after becoming a headquarters for furniture development. Later, it became known for its baseball program. While the town has been the victim of economic decline, there are a lot of great things to do here, like visit Anderson Japanese Gardens.
10. Bishop Hill
Bishop HIll was founded in 1846 by Swedish immigrants looking for religious freedom. They referred to the new town they settled as "brimming with milk and honey." While the community eventually disbanded some 20 years later, much of the history is preserved. Bishop Hill is a national landmark village.
Back in the 1800s, this town was simply divided into farms. It has grown in population (roughly 2,000 residents today), but it still has a lot of the flavor of the past. It is the home of Illinois' oldest Amish community.
Head out to these awesome historic towns this summer!