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Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo was founded in 1868, making it one of the oldest zoos in the United States. The zoo originally housed a pair of swans, but it has since grown to house over 1,000 animals from around the world.
Clark County, Illinois, located in the eastern part of the state, has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century. The area was initially settled by Native American tribes, including the Kickapoo, Fox, and Piankeshaw tribes. In the early 1800s, French explorers and fur traders established trading posts in the region, making it a hub for the fur trade. However, as European settlers began to move into the area, conflicts with the Native American tribes arose.

In 1818, Clark County was officially established and named after George Rogers Clark, a Revolutionary War hero. The county's first permanent settlement, Charleston, was founded in 1826 by four brothers: William, James, Mathew, and Samuel Bigham. The town quickly grew and became a prominent trading center due to its location near the Embarras River. Agriculture, including corn and wheat farming, became the main economic driver in the county.

During the Civil War, Clark County sent many of its young men to fight for the Union, and Charleston served as a recruitment and training center. The county played a significant role in the Underground Railroad, with many abolitionists living in the area and helping enslaved individuals escape to freedom.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Clark County experienced further economic growth with the expansion of railroad lines, which facilitated trade and transportation. In addition to agriculture, coal mining became an essential industry in the county, contributing to its economic prosperity.

Today, Clark County retains its agricultural roots while embracing modern industries and technologies. Its history is celebrated through various museums, historical sites, and events, allowing residents and visitors to connect with the county's past and appreciate its role in shaping the state of Illinois.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Clark County, Illinois.

  • 1819 - Clark County established as one of the original counties in the state of Illinois
  • 1835 - County seat moved from Parker's Prairie to Darwin
  • 1849 - Village of Marshall founded as new county seat
  • 1855 - First railroad, the Terre Haute and Alton, completed in the county
  • 1861 - Clark County supports the Union during the Civil War
  • 1873 - Marshall becomes an incorporated city
  • 1904 - Discovery of oil leads to a boom in the county's economy
  • 1925 - Lincoln Trail State Park opens, providing recreational opportunities for residents and visitors
  • 1931 - Clark County suffers significant damage from the Great Flood
  • 1942 - Construction begins on the Greenup Lock and Dam on the Embarras River
  • 1969 - Red Hills State Park established near Sumner
  • 1984 - Clark County Historical Society Museum opens in Marshall