National Register Listings in
Effingham County, Illinois

The state of Illinois played a crucial role in the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by slaves to escape to freedom in the 19th century. Many abolitionists in Illinois provided safe houses for escaping slaves, and Chicago was a key hub on the Underground Railroad.
Effingham County, Illinois has a rich and diverse history that stretches back to ancient times. The earliest inhabitants of the area were Native American tribes such as the Illini, Kickapoo, and Shawnee. These tribes relied on the fertile land and abundant wildlife for sustenance and thrived in the region for centuries.

European settlement in Effingham County began in the early 19th century, with the arrival of French fur traders and American pioneers. The county was officially established in 1831 and named after Thomas Howard, the 3rd Earl of Effingham. The first settlers primarily engaged in agriculture, cultivating crops like corn, wheat, and tobacco. The development of transportation infrastructure, such as the National Road and later the railroad, facilitated the growth of the county's economy.

Effingham County played a significant role in the Civil War. It was a strategic location due to its proximity to important transportation routes, making it a target for both Union and Confederate forces. The county saw several skirmishes and military encampments throughout the war. Effingham also contributed soldiers to both sides, with many men enlisting in the Union army while others joined Confederate units.

In the 20th century, Effingham County experienced further growth and modernization. The discovery of oil in the county in the early 1900s brought an economic boom, and industries such as oil refining and manufacturing flourished. Effingham also became a regional hub for trade and commerce, with the development of shopping centers and transportation infrastructure. Today, Effingham County continues to thrive, with a diverse economy, strong community spirit, and a commitment to preserving its rich history.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Effingham County, Illinois.

  • Evidence of Native American settlements dating back over 10,000 years
  • 1816 - First non-native American settlers arrive in the area
  • 1823 - Effingham County is officially established
  • 1831 - First courthouse is built
  • 1843 - Effingham becomes the county seat
  • 1854 - First railroad is completed, connecting Effingham to other cities
  • 1861-1865 - Effingham County residents serve in the Civil War
  • 1871 - Construction of the first public school building
  • 1872 - First newspaper, "The Effingham Democrat," is published
  • 1892 - Construction of the current courthouse is completed
  • 1930s - Effingham County residents suffer from the effects of the Great Depression
  • 1940s - Effingham County experiences growth and development after World War II
  • 1960s - Construction of interstates I-57 and I-70 through Effingham County
  • 1982 - Effingham Performance Center is opened as a cultural venue
  • 1995 - Effingham celebrates its bicentennial
  • Present - Effingham County continues to grow and thrive as a regional center